Loyola breezes into semifinals

March 04, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Loyola had no trouble getting up for its 9:45 semifinal against St. Peter's in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament this morning.

The early wake-up call was nothing new, since the Greyhounds often practice at 7 a.m. In addition, there's the matter of two regular-season losses to the Peahens, the regular-season champion and top seed in the tournament Loyola dominated last year en route to the college's first NCAA bid.

The Greyhounds ripped Siena, 76-54, in the quarterfinals yesterday at the Knickerbocker Arena, and they bore no resemblance to the team that lost at home to St. Peter's in overtime on Jan. 30, and blew an 11-point lead at the Peahens' gym on Feb. 19.

Loyola (18-8) has won four in a row since the it lost at St. Peter's. The injuries that it fought through in January have healed, and it appears to have solved its problems against the press.

It's a veteran team, and seniors Patty Stoffey, Patty Taylor, Camille Joyner and Colleen Colsher are 6-1 in the MAAC #F tournament since coach Pat Coyle got hold of them as sophomores. The lone loss was in the title game two years ago -- to St. Peter's.

"Our kids come to this tournament with a different focus," Coyle said. "This is a senior-dominated team, and they got in a circle when Siena was making a run and said there's no way we're going to lose control of this game."

Down 11-2, Loyola never panicked and used a 12-0 run to take a 19-15 lead it never relinquished. Stoffey, who two days ago was named the MAAC Player of the Year, made the pivotal play after Siena had closed to within 47-42 with 8:57 left. Her three-point play in transition began a 9-0 run.

Stoffey had 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists, all team highs, but the difference was the support she received. Taylor, the center, floated outside for several jump shots, Joyner sliced inside for 12 points, and Colsher's defense at the point disrupted Siena.

"People have to step up at tournament time," Coyle said. "Stoffey got us this far, and now it's our turn to take care of her."

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