Navy sails past Loyola of Illinois Coffey's career-best 22 help top streaky Ramblers, 80-59

Women's College Basketball

January 04, 1998|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Loyola of Illinois couldn't decide if it was going to provide a game for the Navy women yesterday. After much vacillating, the visiting Ramblers played in spurts and the Mids prevailed, 80-59.

Jumping out from the opening tip, the Mids had an 18-3 lead after just six minutes and ran up a 28-7 advantage as Laurie Coffey enjoyed a career game. The junior center had half of Navy's 28 points at that point and ended up leading her team with 22.

After the opening 10 minutes, Loyola looked like a different team for the remainder of the first half, outscoring Navy, 25-10, to trail 41-32 at the break.

Loyola freshman Ryan Johnson, a reserve who entered averaging six points a game, scored eight in 80 seconds just before intermission to keep the Ramblers within reach.

The visitors did hang tough once play resumed before Navy's leading scorer and rebounder Becky Dowling took over.

"The key for us is balanced scoring and controlling the tempo," fourth-year Navy coach Joe Sanchez said.

Dowling provided just that even when forced to move from her regular position of center to forward.

Loyola (3-8) was still a threat five minutes into the second half when Dowling hit a three-pointer, made a steal and assisted on a three-point play. She made two more baskets in a five-minute stretch to boost the Mids to a 21-point lead again (66-45).

"We were doing a good job on defense, overall," Sanchez said. "But one weakness was we weren't picking up the shooter in our transition defense. That and the fact our scouting report made no mention of Johnson. We knew about Lora Wolf."

Johnson followed up her 7-for-7 shooting, including 3-for-3 from three-point range, in the first half with eight points in the last 20 minutes for a game-high 25 points.

"We were clogging up the middle really well, so we were forcing them to shoot outside," said Sanchez.

And the Ramblers were more than willing.

It was reminiscent of the run-and-gun forces a decade ago of the Loyola of Illinois men, which always attempted more three-pointers than two-point shots.

The visitors were 5-for-19 from behind the arc in the first half on 38 total shots and 2-for-11 in the second half.

"We knew who to look for," Sanchez said. "Joanne Groth was on Johnson on one wing and Becky, playing forward, was on Wolf on the other wing.

"I think we took their legs away from them by pushing the ball up the court early, then we slowed it down and ran our offense after that."

It's the second straight area loss for Loyola of Illinois, which played in Baltimore Friday night and was beaten by Loyola of Maryland, 76-62.

Navy ended a two-game losing streak, one of the losses being to Towson University, and ran its record to 10-3. It starts play in the Patriot League Wednesday, taking on archrival Army in Annapolis at 5: 15 p.m.

Pub Date: 1/04/98

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