(Montgomery, Ala.) The No. 23 Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team embarked on the Multiplex at the Cramton Bowl on Thursday afternoon to begin its quest for the program’s third-straight Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Tournament Title.
The top seed in the tournament, the Wolf Pack drew No. 8-seed Middle Georgia State in the quarterfinal round from Montgomery, Alabama. Entering Thursday’s game, the Knights had defeated No. 9-seed Brewton-Parker in Wednesday night’s opening round while the Wolf Pack took the court coming off a first-round bye.
Despite a shaky start that saw Loyola trail Middle Georgia 23-16 after the first quarter, the Wolf Pack managed to shake the rust off over the next three quarters to grab the 91-79 victory in the quarterfinal matchup.
1st-Team All-Conference selection Meghan Temple (SR/Houston, Texas) proved too much for the Knights to handle on Thursday, as the senior put up 17 points and a game-high 16 boards in 35 minutes. SSAC All-Freshman honoree Paige Franckiewicz (FR/Slidell, La.) made a splash in her postseason debut, pouring in a team-high 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Jackie Anderson (SR/San Antonio, Texas) chipped in a season-high 10-points in the victory while Kaila Anthony (FR/Pflugerville, Texas) and Megan Worry (SO/Houston, Texas) both added 10 points each off the bench.
Middle Georgia State’s Shaketa Hodges led all scorers with 19 points in the loss and Tasicianna Taylor tallied a double-double (14 points/13 boards) to pace the Knights on Thursday.
As a team, Loyola shot 33-of-76 (43.4%) from the floor and 9-of-23 (39.1%) from the beyond the arc. The Wolf Pack held the advantage in bench scoring 31-10 and managed to outrebound the Knights 53-39 on Thursday afternoon.
With the win, the Wolf Pack (26-5) advances to the semifinals where it will face the fourth seed University of Mobile at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. Loyola swept the Rams during the regular season, claiming two close victories by an average of just seven points.