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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Women’s basketball hoping for bounce-back season

The Loyola women’s basketball team, led by 10th-year head coach Joe Logan, is excited for a fresh start this season. As second-year members of the Patriot League, the team feels more experienced and ready to make a run in the conference this season.

“Last season we had 16 games that were decided by seven points or less,” Logan said. “The Patriot League is an incredibly competitive league. We really learned what a great [conference] the Patriot League is. From an RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) standpoint, the Patriot League was 11th in the country. We left the MAAC, where Marist dominated. They won every MAAC championship since 2006. Now, in the Patriot League, every team has a shot.”

The Greyhounds are projected to finish 10th in the Patriot League preseason poll voted on by all 10 Patriot League coaches. Army and American grabbed the top two spots, a year after Army won the conference tournament. Bucknell University and Holy Cross are tied for third while Lehigh, Navy, Lafayette, Colgate and Boston University sit ahead of Loyola.

After battling injuries and suffering close losses, the Greyhounds (5-25 overall, 2-16 in Patriot League) are ready to return feeling refreshed, healthy and hungry for wins.

Six players will be returning from last season’s squad, including sophomore Lisa Mirachi and senior Nai Brown, who earned Patriot League All-Rookie and Third Team honors, respectively.

Mirachi played 1,084 minutes in 30 games last year, logging more time on the court than any other rookie in Loyola history. Averaging 36.1 minutes per game, the West Chester, Pa., native passed one of Loyola’s all-time greatest players, Patty Stoffey. Stoffey averaged 35.4 minutes per game during her freshman campaign in 1991-92.

Brown, a native of Newark, Del., led the team in points, averaging 14.6 points per game. She scored 20-plus points on six occasions, including a career-best 28 against Boston University on Jan. 19. Along with Mirachi and Brown, senior Steph Smith could provide a boost, as she will be returning from an ACL injury.
Logan stressed the importance of having freshman players last year be able to gain so much experience.

“We have the new freshmen now looking up to them and putting in the work so that they can play as much as they did. The upperclassmen now gained a lot of experience young, so now they will be able to guide the new freshmen.” Five newcomers will join the team this season, one transfer and four first-years.

A new group of players along with new assistant coaches, both with playing experience, have brought a lot of liveliness to the team.

“There’s a ton of energy and enthusiasm at practice, and even in the offices,” Logan said. Former Saint Joseph’s star Katie Kuester and former Villanova star Sarah Jones were named assistant coaches over the summer.

The Greyhounds will face a tough non-conference schedule to start the season. Five of the 11 non-conference games will be against teams that qualified for postseason play last year, including one NCAA Final Four team.

The Greyhounds open the season with the College of William and Mary on Friday, Nov. 14. On Monday, Nov. 24, the Greyhounds will take on the University of Maryland. The Terrapins qualified for their 11th-straight postseason after going 28-7 last season and advancing to the Final Four.

The team will host seven straight home games in the month of December. Four of the seven contests will be against teams that played in the 2014 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). The four squads combined for a record of 88-42 during the 2013-14 campaign.

“I believe we have put together another challenging non-conference schedule that will prepare us to compete in the Patriot League,” Logan said.

Patriot League action begins on New Year’s Eve when the Greyhounds host the 2014 regular season champions, Navy, in Reitz Arena. Three days later, Army, the defending Patriot League Tournament champions, hosts Loyola in West Point, N.Y., on Saturday, Jan. 3. The League champion will be crowned before a national television audience on CBS Sports Network on Saturday, March 14. All 10 Patriot League teams will advance to tournament play with the highest seed hosting each game.

Coach Logan believes that improvements can be made before the start of the season.

“We definitely need to work on scoring more points; I think that will help us be able to win those close games.”

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Women’s basketball hoping for bounce-back season