VALPARAISO | The Valparaiso women’s basketball team’s quest for its fourth straight win came up short Wednesday in a 52-44 loss to Horizon League foe Loyola.
The Crusaders (6-9, 1-0) were looking to continue its mastery of the Ramblers (6-9, 1-1) having an 18-3 all-time record heading into the game. They weren’t able to complete a spirited second-half rally
“It was real disappointing,” coach Tracey Dorow said. “We outrebounded them 43-30. We did some real good things, but we weren’t ready to play.”
Trailing by as many as 12 points early in the second half, the Crusaders fought their way back as Tabitha Gerardot scored 12 of her team-high 17 points in the second half.
Three straight buckets by Gerardot pulled the Crusaders to within 31-28.
A jumper by Liz Horton got the Crusaders within 33-32. The Crusaders still trailed 38-37 and 42-39 but couldn’t came all the way back.
“I definitely felt we could (get the lead) and thought we would, so that was frustrating at the end,” Gerardot said
A steal and basket by Loyola’s Taylor Johnson gave the Ramblers a big 50-44 lead with 38 seconds left.
“It’s just not enough when they score 20 points off our turnovers, and we just looked scared to death of the ball,” Dorow said. “We just have to take better care of the ball.”
The Crusaders built an early 10-3 advantage on the cold-shooting Ramblers in a low-scoring first half. The Ramblers battled back to tie the game at 13-13 and then closed with a fury.
Loyola’s Katie Faught came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers in the latter stages of the first half to propel the visitors to a 23-13 halftime lead. Abby Skude, a senior from Chesterton, added five points in the opening half.
Skube finished with 13 points and three rebounds for Loyola, while Johnson poured in a game-high 19.
“Being it was my last time coming to Valpo, it was kind of sad because I‘m coming to the end of it,” Skube said. “With contributions with everyone off the bench, and our starters had a very great game. It was our first win at Valpo so that was real good.”
The Crusaders travel to UIC for another Horizon League battle at 3 p.m. Saturday.