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Loyola women open GCAC play with win over Dillard

January 9, 2009

In the GCAC opener for both teams, Loyola outscored host Dillard 24-11 in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as the Wolfpack cruised to a 59-42 victory Thursday night in Dent Hall.

The Wolfpack opened the second stanza with a 6-0 run capped by a Rachel Nolan field goal at the 16:47 mark to make the score 27-15.

Ariel Mitchell answered for Dillard with a three pointer that cut the Wolfpack lead to single digits 27-18. It would be as close as the Lady Blue Devils would get the remainder of the game.

Later in the half, Trenell Smith gave Loyola their biggest advantage of the half with her only three pointer of the contest. The long range jumper extended the margin to 42-23 with 9:10 to play.

The Lady Blue Devils cut the Loyola lead to 11 points with 6:39 to play with a basket by Valjean Gordon.

The Wolfpack quickly ran the margin up to 19 points over the next four minutes with Christine Mainguy’s field goal making the score 55-36 with 2:07 remaining in the game.

Trenell Smith, last week’s GCAC Player of the Week, led the Wolfpack with a game high 18 points. She also grabbed eight rebounds and had five steals in the game.

Trenese Smith finished with 14 points and Rachel Nolan had a career high 12 points. Christine Mainguy, the 15th best rebounder in the NAIA, grabbed a game high 13 boards to round out the leaders for Loyola (5-4, 1-0 GCAC).

The victory extended the Wolfpack winning streak to a season best four games and put Loyola over the .500 mark for the first time in 2008-09.

For Dillard (4-9, 0-1 GCAC), Ariel Mitchell led with 15 points. She was the lone player for the Lady Blue Devils in double figures. Valjean Gordon grabbed a team high nine rebounds.

Cold shooting plagued both teams in the first half with Loyola converting 7 of 21 for 33.3% and Dillard making only 5 of 28 on a 17.9% clip. The Wolfpack led 17-11 at the half.

GCAC play continues with Loyola traveling to Hattiesburg on Saturday evening with tip off at William Carey slated for 5 p.m.

Comments from Loyola head coach Kellie Kennedy: “We were not focused in the first half which I thought led to the cold shooting from the field and the line. I’m proud that we were able to collect ourselves and play better in the second half. Anytime that you get a road win in this league, it’s a successful night. We’ll start preparing tomorrow for another road test against William Carey on Saturday night.”

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