CHAROTTESVILLE, VA — CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- In the immediate sense, the Loyola women's basketball team got little of a positive nature from its initial appearance in the NCAA tournament, a 72-47 loss to Virginia last night.
The Cavaliers dominated the Greyhounds on both ends of the floor, knocking Loyola out in the first round and extending their UniversityHall winning streak to 40 games.
The Virginia defense made things miserable for Patty Stoffey, the second-leading scorer in women's basketball, holding her to 16, and for the Greyhounds, pressuring them into 32 percent shooting.
But for Loyola coach Pat Coyle, there is a hope that her players learned a few lessons about playing at the highest level.
"I look at their post players and the first thing I told our kids in the locker room was we need to look like that," said Coyle. "I told them, 'When you're in the weight room this summer, think about what happened tonight.' "
The Cavaliers (26-4), seeded third in the Mideast, at times went with a front line of Wendy Palmer, Jeffra Gausepohl and Amy Lofstedt, each of whom has at least 3 inches and 20 pounds on any Greyhound.
"Virginia's what we aspire to be," said Coyle. "They're good, they're big, they're strong and they're physical. They've got the whole package."
The 14th-seeded Greyhounds (18-11) also had the misfortune of catching Virginia after the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference champions had lost to North Carolina in the tournament final.
The Virginia players were angry and took it out on the Greyhounds.
"My goal for this game was to get back to Virginia basketball. We weren't playing hard enough," said coach Debbie Ryan. "We wanted to get back to Virginia basketball, come hell or high water, and we did."
The Cavaliers got things going with a full-court press that bottled up Loyola in its own end. The Greyhounds, who turned the ball over on their first four possessions, didn't get the ball across half-court until 55 seconds had elapsed and didn't get off a shot until 1:45 into the game.
"I thought Virginia would press us, but that's a different level," saidCoyle. "It wasn't that we weren't ready for it. It's just that we weren't prepared for their strength."
The job Virginia did on Stoffey, a 5-foot-11 forward who would be a wing player in most programs, didn't help either. The junior from Pottstown, Pa., is the Greyhounds' best low-post threat, and she saw parts or all of Gausepohl, Lofstedt and Palmer all night.
As a result, she failed to reach 20 points for the first time in 17 games.
"It's been like that all season, except they're a little bigger," said Stoffey, who came in with a 26-point average. "Every time I turned around, they were there."
"I tried to back off her, give her some space and not let her lean into me," said Lofstedt, who held Maryland's Bonnie Rimkus scoreless in the ACC tournament semifinals.
For the Greyhounds, who won their way here by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic tournament, there were three nice thoughts to carry over to next season.
First, there was the unexpected early second-half arrival of the women's lacrosse team, which beat Penn State on the road in overtime, thendirected the team bus for a six-hour ride to Charlottesville.
"That was just school spirit," said Stoffey. "It felt good to see them walk in. We owe a lot to them."
The second pleasant development was the play of freshman forward Lynn Albert, who had 13 of her 15 points in the second half.
"She was slow catching on, but now she has a pretty good idea of what to do. She's a pretty tough kid," said Coyle.
The final good thought is that the 'Hounds won't see Virginia until maybe this time next year, when, perhaps they'll be a little bit stronger.