FINISH: Loyola 52, DePaul 78
Two games in a row Allison Guth has been able to practice against someone with whom she has a personal connection. Two games in a row, her pregame hugs carried a little more weight. And yet, the results of the games couldn’t have been more different. DePaul head coach Doug Bruno, who Allison Guth admiringly calls, “the godfather of women’s college basketball in Chicago,” was able to guide his team to a commanding victory over one of his former assistants in Allison Guth’s Ramblers. Loyola was able to hold out against the Blue Demons for a quarter. The second and third quarters were a onslaught of offensive execution from DePaul, who was up 36 points at one point. When everything was settled, Loyola lost 78-52. I think the entire Ramblers team would like to mulligan if given the chance.
As a step:
The Ramblers played well in the first quarter. After falling 7-2, the Ramblers came back and took the lead after scoring on 4 straight possessions to go up 11-9. I’m sure most of the Rambler faithful would have liked to stop the game right there. Spanning from the second through the third quarter, the Blue Demons put together a 42-4 run. That’s not a typo. The Blue Demons were driven primarily by second team All American Aneesah Morrow and All Big East Freshman First Teamer Darrione Rogers. Morrow entered the game averaging 24 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. He finished with 25 and 14. Blue Demons’ physicality and determination on offense seemed almost unstoppable at times. Just as the Ramblers were packing up the paint, Morrow or Rogers would hit an impressive 3-pointer or come around. The Ramblers tried all kinds of mix and match with their lineups, including a first look at playing 5 guards at a time, but nothing seemed to work. They were desperately missing their leading rebounder, junior forward Sitori Tanin, who was sidelined with a cast on her left arm.
The Ramblers had a fourth quarter to play. And even though they were down 32 going into the fourth quarter, Coach Guth challenged her players to go out and win the fourth quarter, and they did. They won the fourth quarter 23-17. Maya Chandler was great in the fourth quarter. She was 4-4 from the field and 3-4 from the free throw line. She had 12 of her career-high 23 points in the fourth verse. Sam Galanopoulos also had a great effort. He was going 100% on every play, even when he was going for fumbles and taking over, even when the Ramblers were down 30 points. As the Ramblers continued to fight, there were some nice moments. Anna Brown was able to hit a pair of 3-pointers, which she felt great considering she had only made 2 of her last 14 3-pointers before the fourth quarter on Wednesday. Chivers made some good plays on defense, including a steal and two force jumps. This team needs Brown, Chandler and Galanopoulos to start clicking to get things headed in the right direction.
We’ve seen this kind of performance from Maya in the games against Milwaukee and Virginia. He is capable of crying, going down hills, making contested layups and getting to the free throw line. I think the next step for her is to facilitate basketball along with her scoring outbursts. Coach Guth agrees with me: “You have to have an offense that understands and shares basketball and plays to each other’s strengths.” Even if she and Sam can coordinate their best stretches at the same time, that could really help the team’s performance.
Coach Guth confirmed Wednesday that he will be without rebounding leader Sitori Tanin for at least a month due to a left arm injury that has her in a cast. With Tanin out, the Ramblers will need all three “tall kids” to improve their games. Emma Nolan, Sophia Nolan and Julia Hoefling will need to improve their toughness and take on a greater workload with Tanin sidelined.
The Ramblers will travel to Marquette on Saturday to face the 24th-ranked Golden Eagles at 2 pm Coach Guth said the Ramblers need to show some “resistance against runs.” This game against Marquette is a perfect opportunity to show some resistance.
Photo credit: Steve Woltmann