BUFFALO, N.Y. - Defense will take you a long way, but it won't take you the entire way, unless you get some offense to go with it.
Loyola got a little, but not enough to topple second-seeded Fairfield in yesterday's women's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament semifinal. The third-seeded Greyhounds fell, 65-53.
The Greyhounds (19-10), whose ability to stop conference opponents was second to none, stopped themselves with poor shooting.
They managed 37 percent shooting - against 46 percent for the Stags (25-4) - with one icy 13-minute first-half stretch.
In that span, the Greyhounds made one of seven from the field, and their 10-2 lead dissolved into a 23-19 halftime deficit.
And then things got worse.
"I thought we defended as well as we could defend," said Loyola coach Cindy Anderson. "The ball just didn't go in the basket for us."
Had it, the story might have been different. The Greyhounds might be playing for the MAAC title tonight, and the NCAA bid that goes with it, instead of the Stags.
"I truly believed this was the championship game," said Anderson. "I said, that whoever was going to win this game would win it all."
Early on, it looked as though their bread and butter would be Fairfield's poison.
They had the Stags stymied, stuffing them into a 10-2 hole in the first six minutes.
Jennifer Mitchell got the Greyhounds running with a three-pointer from the left wing. Layups by Shannon Cohen and Erica Rath, both of which came as a result of Stags miscues, helped make it 8-2.
Soon after, Cohen stole the ball from Megan Light in the backcourt and dished off to Laura Slater, whose easy basket put the Greyhounds up by eight.
Fairfield coach Dianne Nolan called timeout. Neither team was the same after that. The Stags regrouped, while Loyola, offensively at least, fell apart.
In the final 14:00, the Greyhounds made one field goal - a Slater three-pointer - until 27 seconds remained in the half. By that time, Fairfield had a 23-17 lead.
"Your shots don't always fall," said Rath, whose 14 points led the Greyhounds. "But your defensive effort can always be there. We relied on that to keep us in the game."
LOYOLA- Rath 6-15 2-2 14, Mitchell 4-9 0-0 12, Netherton 3-7 3-6 9, Slater 2-8 4-4 9, Cohen 2-4 2-2 6, Cobb 1-1 0-0 2, Smith 0-4 1-2 1. Totals 18-48 12-16 53. FAIRFIELD-Isidora 3-7 1-2 8, Brown 7-9 0-0 14, Strumpf 4-10 3-4 11, Tapley 3-9 6-6 14, Light 1-3 4-4 6, Thorne 3-8 4-4 10, Chartier 1-2 0-2 2. Totals 2-48 18-22 65. Halftime-Fairfield, 23-19. 3-point goals-Loyola 5-10 (Mitchell 4-7, Slater 1-3); Fairfield 3-10 (Isidora 1-1, Tapley 2-7, Light 0-1). Rebounds-Loyola 28 (Netherton 10); Fairfield 32 (Tapley, Thorne 7). Assists-Loyola 13 (Cohen 7); Fairfield 18 (Strumpf, Light 6). A-N/A.