Loyola women pull off 79-67 upset of Niagara

Netherton-less Hounds advance in MAAC tourney


March 01, 2002|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - It doesn't seem to matter what the seedings are, who the coach is, or who is in - or out - of the Loyola lineup.

One thing remains constant: their mastery over Niagara in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.

Yesterday, the No. 10-seeded Greyhounds - with starting center Katie Netherton out with a broken hand - drove the point home once more by bouncing the No. 7 Purple Eagles out of the MAAC tournament with a 79-67 upset.

The Greyhounds, who have now knocked Niagara out of the tournament three years in a row, will meet No. 2 St. Peter's tomorrow (12:15 p.m.) as the scene shifts from the Siena College campus to the Pepsi Arena in nearby Albany.

Loyola has taken 13 of the past 15 meetings against Niagara, including last year's tournament opener.

Loyola needed at least one big-time performance to make up for the loss of Netherton, and her 11 points and eight rebounds a game.

Five Greyhounds scored in double figures, led by Jennifer Mitchell's 21.

Freshman center Robbyn Poole, playing just 18 minutes on a gimpy ankle, added a career-high 15 points. Point guard Shontrese Smith tallied 13 points and fueled the Loyola fastbreak by pulling down six defensive rebounds.

"We knew one person couldn't just step up and be Katie Netherton," said Loyola Coach Candy Cage, who took over for Cindy Anderson this year. "We talked about how everybody had to step up."

The challenge was met from the earliest minutes, when Loyola erased a 7-4 deficit and went on to take a 36-27 halftime lead.

It took Amy Dessart Mager, who scored a career-high 13 points, less than five minutes to surpass her 5.1 scoring average. She netted the Greyhounds' first three baskets, the last of which sent them on a 12-2 run and gave them a 16-9 edge, midway through the half.

"I wasn't looking to score," said Dessart Mager. "Our team just got me the ball because now I was the one underneath, instead of Katie. I just wanted to concentrate on defense."

Loyola's nine-point advantage melted away to 36-34 in the early stretches of the second half. But the Greyhounds immediately went on a 12-5 tear.

After allowing the Eagles that initial seven-point surge, Loyola hunkered down on defense and didn't permit Niagara to score more than three points in a row.

LOYOLA-Dessart Mager 4-7 5-8 13, Mitchell 7-11 7-8 21, Cobb 2-5 0-0 5, Smith 3-9 7-8 13, Slater 5-14 0-0 10, DeYoung 0-0 2-2 2, Tomovich 0-1 0-0 0, Poole 4-6 7-8 15. Totals 25-53 28-34 79. NIAGARA-J.O'Donohue 3-8 2-2 10, Kemp 5-10 0-0 12, B.O'Donohue 1-1 0-0 2, Murphy 3-13 3-3 9, Cunningham 6-16 6-9 18, Roscoe 0-0 0-0 0, Fitchlee 2-2 3-3 7, Toetz 0-1 0-0 0, Meder 1-9 0-0 2, Mimm 0-2 0-1 0, Heben 0-0 0-0 0, Siranni 2-4 3-3 7. Totals 23-66 17-21 67. Halftime-Loyola 36-27. 3-point goals-Loyola 1-3 (Cobb 1-1, Slater 0-2), Niagara 4-21 (J.O'Donohue 2-5, Kemp 2-5, Murphy 0-5, Cunningham 0-2, Meder 0-2, Mimm 0-2). Fouled out-Cobb, Smith. Rebounds-Loyola 51 (Mitchell 7), Niagara 25 (Murphy 6). Assists-Loyola 15 (Cobb 5), Niagara 15 (Murphy 8). Total fouls-Loyola 21, Niagara 20.

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