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2/16/2023 10:17 am  #1

GW versus Loyola University Chicago (Game 2) Thread

Next up:                 Loyola University Chicago (LUC) Ramblers
Time:                      February 18, 2023; 1:30 PM
Venue:                   Smith Center; Washington DC
2021-22 Record:   18-12 overall; 10-8 in Missouri Valley Conference
2023 Projection:  13th
Current Record:   6-20
    OOC Record:    5-8
    A10 Record:     1-12
Common OOC:    Virginia (Loss)
Broadcast:           ESPN+ 

The Loyola University Chicago (LUC) Ramblers visit the Colonials this weekend for the second regular season meeting between the two teams and their first ever appearance at Smith Center. This contest concludes a two-game swing through the DMV for LUC. On Wednesday, the Ramblers lost to George Mason 80-63 at EagleBank Arena. The A10 newcomers have had a rough go in conference play, and after an opening day victory over St. Louis, have lost 12 straight games. As the Ramblers navigated their way through the A10 this season, games have become more competitive, but they have yet to figure out how to close out games.

LUC averages 55.8 ppg on 36.3% from the field (29.4% from 3-point range) and 75.7% on free throws. Their defense allows 64.6 ppg on 44.2% accuracy from their opponents. The Ramblers are led by veteran guards Maya Chandler (10.3 ppg) and Sam Galanopolous (9.6 ppg), and 6’2” forward Sitori Tanin (9.2 ppg and 6.0 rpg). Defensively, LUC forces 15.5 turnovers and 7.4 steals per game, but are at the bottom of the conference in shots blocked and field goal percentage allowed.
In the initial meeting in Chicago, GW defeated the Ramblers 75-61 behind Lakstigala’s 19 point and Taiwo’s 19 rebounds. In that game, GW dominated the boards (51-35) and shot 12-22 from 3-point range. Despite taking a big lead into the final period, LUC’s press caused trouble and let them narrow the gap before GW extended the lead in the final moments of the game.
About the game:
The Ramblers have nothing to lose and saw first-hand in the initial meeting that GW was susceptible to pressure defense. Their lack of depth probably precludes too much pressing, so they’ll try to make this game a low scoring contest and hope that they can put enough points on the board to secure a win. Despite coming off the bench of late, Chandler leads the way scoring and had 17 points against George Mason in the Ramblers last game. Tanin has also come on strong of late and finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 8 steals in that contest.
For GW, this game provides an opportunity for the offense to get back on track against a weaker defensive squad, but it will require patience, discipline and good shot selection. The Colonials defense will force numerous stops, but the offense has to convert these opportunities to points at a much higher frequency than in our recent games. Hopefully the team is healthy and everyone is available. We need Lakstigala and Taiwo to again have big games and for the bench to contribute significantly.
This is a huge game for GW. A victory would secure our first winning record overall and in conference play since the 2017-2018 season. With contests against an up-and-down Davidson team and potent UMass squad coming up to close out the regular season, the Colonials can’t afford to look past the Ramblers.


2/18/2023 4:14 pm  #2

Re: GW versus Loyola University Chicago (Game 2) Thread

GW goes coast to coast for a 60-51 win.
1st Quarter:  GW starts the contest with Brown and Thornton unavailable to play. Lok and Engel started for the Colonials, who rolled out to a 10-0 lead. Things slowed in the latter portion of the period for the Colonials, who finished the quarter with a 14-4 lead. GW’s scoring was well distributed, with Engel, Lok, and Robertson each contributing a trey.
2nd Quarter: The Loyola offense got going and lackluster play by GW let the Ramblers cut the lead to 6 points at the half (30-24). If not for a hot streak by Robertson, things could have been worse. She finished with 15 points for the half. Credit LUC defense for playing Lakstigala tight and limiting her to just one 3-point attempt and 2 points for the half on 1-5 shooting.
3rd Quarter: With the offense and defense playing more in sync, the Colonials built a comfortable 15-point lead early in the period. A little run by LUC at the end of the quarter prevented a larger deficit and the teams entered the final period with GW on top 49-35. At this point, Robertson led all scorers with 20 points while Tanin tallied 15 for Loyola.
4th Quarter: GW’s defense had problems stopping the Ramblers early in the quarter and LUC clawed back to within 10 points before McCombs called a timeout. The score went back and forth for the remainder of the game, and GW wins 61-50. Robertson finished with 25 points followed by Lakstigala with 10 points. Taiwo chipped in 9 points and 9 boards.
This was a big win for GW, who despite the unavailability of Brown and Thornton, was able to put together their best performance in recent days on both sides of the ball. The tight man-to-man defense by Loyola was very effective and forced a lot of one-on-one play at the end of the shot clock and a slew of inside attempts GW couldn’t finish. Fortunately, the Colonials shot 7-18 (39%) from distance and that proved to be the difference on a day when we were outrebounded. Big plusses offensively include 12 assists, some key transition baskets, and only 7 turnovers.
With two games left in conference play, GW sits in 4th place in the A10, but holding fast will be difficult with games against Davidson and UMass coming up. Apparently, Brown will miss those contests, so others will have to step up and perform. Engel got extended minutes today and played under control, finishing with 5 points on 2-5 shooting and 3 rebounds. Lok also played well, and if Engel continues to start, Robertson, Blethen and Webster will come off the bench to rest the starters. The Davidson game will be a great test for this lineup.
Note: It was mentioned during the game that all five seniors (Blethen, Brown, Laureano, Lok, and Taiwo) have eligibility remaining, so it will be an interesting off season.

Last edited by xAC (2/18/2023 5:30 pm)

     Thread Starter

2/19/2023 12:06 am  #3

Re: GW versus Loyola University Chicago (Game 2) Thread

I only caught one half during WBB's two game losing streak (which may be a good thing!) but overall I think ball movement has looked better since the games at Mason and La Salle earlier in conference play. There were a few possessions today where the team had to hoist a shot because the shot clock was expiring but I think 60 should be the goal every game (an average of 15 per quarter) and the team hit that. I think the team defense is good enough most games that 60 should be enough (of course against URI/UMass it would have to be more but the team isn't there yet).

Mia didn't have the biggest scoring day but did a really good job moving the ball on offense. Her extra pass to Mayowa on a couple possessions led to higher percentage shots. Her 6 assists was a season high by any player on the team against D1 competition (which really sums up the lack of ball movement for the most part this year). Late in the game I'd rather she just keeps the ball instead of handing it off to Nya because I trust her late game FT shooting a bit more.

Nya (Robertson) is doing a much better job shooting within the flow of the offense. I think long term that will help her efficiency. It's a bit unfair (and concerning) to expect her to account for over 40% of the offense so hopefully moving forward the rest of the year others can help out.

Mayowa was doing it all as usual. Her nifty moves inside and rebounding were great but the extra effort diving for loose balls and making the extra pass were game-changers and killed any momentum Loyola had in the game. She may not have the height other frontcourt players have but her ability to handle the ball along the perimeter is also better than those players as well.

Nya (Lok) has a good stroke from 3 and quietly does a good job keeping possessions alive with her rebounding. Second chance opportunities are much needed on this team where shooting is a bit streaky.

Asjah is good connecting piece on the team on both sides of the ball. Something that would really help the team's offense moving forward would be running off misses/playing in transition. The offense is better and Asjah is more dynamic in the fast break (although she's also good posting up in the halfcourt). The team seems to push it more when Robertson is at PG compared to Asjah.

Nice to see Maxine back in action. Hopefully she actually gets consistent playing time moving forward because I think that was hurting her earlier in the year (knowing who is going to play on a given night is a big question mark for WBB). Engel's a good shooter and is efficient without needing high usage.

It was interesting to see Faith come off the bench (on Senior Day of all days??). I don't know if she's lost confidence in her shot or what but I think she passed up on a good shot a few times. It honestly reminded me of Hunter on the MBB team - Faith would drive halfway and then wait for someone to collect the ball. She's a better shooter than that and the offense is more of a threat when she is confident to shoot.

Taylor did a good job corralling a pass but was hoping one of her FT attempts would fall.

It definitely seems like WBB is very secretive when it comes to player health/availability. Sheslanie has missed the full year, so I'd assume she has two years left. Are Essence and Jayla injured? It definitely seems like Thornton hasn't played in a few weeks. I think it was reported Aurea was dealing with a migraine earlier in the year so I'm guessing that's keeping her out. Caia was starting to see more minutes and is now not playing again. Also surprised Piper is no longer listed on the roster. Regardless, it's even more impressive the team is in 3rd with all the player uncertainty.

The Davidson game is the biggest of the year. With the game being at home the team needs to win to have a chance at the double bye. A loss to UMass to end the year is understandable/expected. 10 wins in conference may not even be enough for the double bye but GW definitely has a chance and that's amazing in year 2 under McCombs.


2/21/2023 2:41 am  #4

Re: GW versus Loyola University Chicago (Game 2) Thread

Caught the ladies on TV almost by accident vs. Loyola and figured I'd watch for a few minutes to see how the team looked this year.   Well, I watched the whole game and was quite impressed with the ladies spirited style of play.   Super hustle and lots of running and passing.    Seemed like they had a good idea of what they wanted to do on the court.  That kind of inspired play and evidence of active coaching will draw me back.   I was a regular follower during Joe's long run, but was frankly shocked by how far we'd fallen in WBB over the last 5 years or so whenever I'd check in to scope out the team.   Congrats to Coach McCombs for what looks to be an excellent job so far.


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