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Women's basketball team clinch Gulf Coast title

Loyola press release - March 9, 2009

Loyola’s women’s basketball team forced 24 LSU-Shreveport turnovers, as the 20th-ranked Wolfpack secured the 2009 Gulf Coast Atheltic Conference Tournament championship with a 61-40 win over the Lady Pilots Monday night at The Den.

Quan Joseph got the Lady Pilots an 8-2 lead just three minutes into the game with a pair of free throws.

The Wolfpack took control of the contest with a 15-0 run culminating with a pair of Garkeiva Council free throws that made the score 17-8 with just over nine minutes left before the break. The spurt was part of a larger 28-5 streak that Rachael Nolan capped off with a stick-in off a Trenell Smith feed to make it 30-13 two minutes before the half. The teams went to the locker room with Loyola up 30-17.

The Wolfpack opened the second half by expanding the lead up to 20 points at 39-19 after Lauren Pryer converted a three-point play with just under 15:30 to go in the period.

The Lady Pilots used a 6-0 run to cut the Wolfpack lead down to 14 when Callie Davis scored off an Amanda Perkins feed to make it 39-25 Loyola with less than 13:30 to go.

Loyola scored 16 of the game’s next 21 points to put the game out of reach when a Christine Mainguy basket made it 55-30 Wolfpack with five minutes left in the contest.

“Our defense was really the key tonight. We had a great scouting plan and our kids executed it to perfection. Our play on the defensive end, forcing 24 turnovers, led to many scoring opportunities tonight” said Loyola head coach Kellie Kennedy.

All-GCAC junior guard/forward Trenell Smith led the way with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Wolfpack’s other junior all-conference selection and GCAC Player of the Year, Trenese Smith went for 15 points, four assists and five rebounds. Senior forward Christine Mainguy led the way on the glass, securing seven rebounds.

The Wolfpack (23-6) hit 45.8% (22 of 48) from the field and 13 of 14 (92.9%) from the charity stripe. Loyola outscored LSU-Shreveport 22-3 off turnovers and 10-0 on the fast break. Loyola will enter the NAIA National Championship Tournament riding the wave of a 13 game winning streak.

Janai Sells was the only Lady Pilot In double-figures with ten points. Sells and Tish Flowers each grabbed a team high four rebounds.

Along with the 24 turnovers, the Lady Pilots (27-5) hit only 38.2% (13 of 34) from the floor and 60% (12 of 20) from the free throw line. LSU-Shreveport hit two of their three attempts from above the three point arc.

Both teams season will continue at the NAIA National Championship Tournament March 18th-24th at the Oman Arena at Jackson, Tennessee. First round match-ups and game times will be announced later this week. The first round is scheduled for March 18th and 19th.