Loyola topples St. Peter's, 55-52, moves into MAAC women's final

March 05, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. -- According to the regular-season standings, the Loyola women weren't supposed to stick around for the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.

The Greyhounds had an injury-tinged 7-6 record in the MAAC, but their experience, considerable will and current health made that mark a moot point and allowed Loyola to knock off top-seeded St. Peter's, 55-52, in the tournament semifinals yesterday.

Fourth-seeded Loyola (19-8) will go for its sixth straight victory and a return to the NCAA tournament in the title game this afternoon (3:30 p.m.) at the Knickerbocker Arena against third-seeded Fairfield, an 89-82 winner over Manhattan.

It is Loyola's third straight final, and a repeat of last year's championship game, which Loyola won to give the college its first NCAA bid.

Two years ago, St. Peter's (22-6) beat Loyola in the title game, and that remains the Greyhounds' only MAAC tournament loss in three seasons under coach Pat Coyle.

"When you've already been to the championship game two years in a row, that has to count for something," Coyle said. "We came here prepared to play 120 minutes, and that's what we're going to do."

RTC Loyola got a typically solid performance from Patty Stoffey. The 5-foot-10 senior forward went the distance and collected 26 points -- 19 in the second half -- and 14 rebounds. No other Greyhound scored in the first 10 minutes, but her teammates caught on, none in more timely a fashion than sophomore forward Lynn Albert.

Albert had the only three-pointer of the game, and it broke a 40-40 tie with 7:03 to go. Stoffey's basket off a lob pass pushed the lead to 52-47 with 1:17 to go, and the Greyhounds held on.

Since January, Loyola has lost only twice. It avenged one of those setbacks yesterday, and can make amends for the other today. It fell at Fairfield, 94-77, on Feb. 12.

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