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The Greyhound

Women fall to Hartford in home opener

The Loyola University Maryland women’s basketball team couldn’t get over the hump in their home opener Thursday night at Reitz Arena, dropping a closely-contested contest to Hartford University, 59-53.
Junior guard Nai Brown tallied a career-high 14 points to go along with seven rebounds for the Greyhounds (0-2), while sophomore center Tiffany Padgett led the team with 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Diana Logan was perfect from the field and from the free-throw line, finishing with six points.
The Greyhounds had a stand-out performance from freshman guard Lisa Mirarchi, who nailed all six of her free throw attempts and finished with eight points and four steals, all in just the second game of her collegiate career.
The game started in Loyola’s favor, as the Greyhounds won the tipoff, leading to senior guard Nicole Krusen’s layup to give the Greyhounds a 2-0 lead on the opening possession. The senior would finish the game with five points and four boards.
After a three-point field goal by Hartford (1-1), the Greyhounds regained the lead on a jumper by sophomore guard Brittany Butler, putting the Hounds ahead, 4-3. It would be the last lead the Greyhounds would hold for the remainder of the game.
The Hawks would go on an 11-0 run to take a 14-4 lead, before a Logan jump shot with 12:54 left in the first half put Loyola back on the board after a four-minute scoring drought.
Logan would strike again on a layup with 11:42 remaining in the half, cutting Hartford’s lead to 14-10. However, the Hawks broke through for a 7-0 run, taking a 21-10 lead after a couple of free throws by Alyssa Englert with eight minutes remaining in the half.
The Hounds snapped a five-minute scoring drought on a free throw by senior forward Nneka Offodile with six minutes remaining. Offodile would finish the game with three points and seven boards.
Offodile’s free throw sparked Loyola’s own 7-0 run, as the Greyhounds made the score 21-17 on four Mirarchi free throws, as well as a layup by sophomore forward Jeneh Perry. Perry would finish the contest with four points, to go along with a career-high seven rebounds.
The Hounds ended the first half on a strong note, with three-point shots by Brown and Krusen, cutting the Hawks’ halftime lead to 27-23.
Loyola continued to keep the game close for the remainder of the evening, shooting for a much better percentage in the second half, but Hartford matched them basket by basket, never allowing the Hounds to jump in front.
Junior guard Kara Marshall drained a three-point bucket with 18:30 left in the game to pull the Greyhounds within three points, sparking the offense after halftime. Marshall, the Greyhounds’ leading scorer from last season, finished the game with six points.
The Loyola offense stalled a bit after the Marshall three-pointer, but picked up again with 14 minutes left, when a layup by Padgett cut the Hawks’ lead to 33-29.
Another Padgett layup with 13 minutes remaining made the score 33-31, which would be the closest Loyola would come to evening the score.
After two more Mirarchi free throws, making her six-for-six from the charity stripe, Hartford’s Amber Bepko responded with a shot from beyond the arc to give the Hawks their largest lead of the second half at 51-43.
Brown would then account for the game’s next four points, hitting a layup followed by a pair of free throws to pull Loyola within four. However, Hartford kept responding and refused to let the Hounds make a big run, and Loyola was unable to complete the comeback.
The Hounds shot 31.8 percent in the second half, compared to just 25 percent in the first half, but the Hawks constantly stayed one step ahead.
“We both made more shots [in the second half],” Loyola head coach Joe Logan said. “They never let us get over the hump, so we have to give them credit.”
The Greyhounds hit the road on Sunday afternoon to face East Carolina (3-0) at 2 p.m.
“I like how our young kids are playing, and I like how our older kids are playing,” Logan said. “I was happy with how we fought, and hopefully we can capitalize on that down at East Carolina.”

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Women fall to Hartford in home opener