NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Spring Hill College women's basketball took a 72-59 conference loss at Jesuit rival Loyola University (La.) on Thursday evening at The Den.
The Wolfpack (14-1, 6-1 SSAC) used its high pressure full court defense to build an early 12-6 advantage, but could not shake off a determined SHC squad that rallied to take a 24-21 lead with 6:30 remaining in the half off a 3-point bucket by freshman guard Elissa VandeWaa from Spanish Fort, Ala., and a short jumper by junior forward Kristin Rogers of Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.
Loyola would rebuild a 5-point lead at 29-24, but once again the Badgers responded to tie the game at 32 with one minute on the clock via a 3-pointer by junior forward Jackie Higgenbotham of Birmingham and a layup by sophomore Sha Sha Buchanan from Mobile's McGill-Toolen Catholic High School.
Down 37-35 at the half, the Badgers allowed the Wolfpack to launch a 6-point run early in the second period that staked Loyola to a 45-38 cushion with 16 minutes showing and then fell down by as much 12 points at 59-47 as the clock reached the 7:30 mark.
Rogers led the Badgers with12 points while sophomore guard Bria Bohanon of Ponchatoula, La., and Higgenbotham each scored 11 points. Junior center April Bradford of Pensacola, Fla., reached double-digit rebounding for the 11th time this season with 11 boards.
Spring Hill shot 40.7 (22-54) overall from the field and 50% (7-14) from 3-point range while suffering a 44.4% (8-18) night from the charity stripe. The Badgers turned the ball over 19 times against 11 steals by the Wolfpack defense.
The leading scorer in the NAIA, Keiva Council, paced the Wolfpack with 23 points and Jasmine Brewer added 20 points. Amy Moody also reached double figures for Loyola at 14 points and Janeicia Neely contributed 11 points.
Loyola hit for 38% (27-71) overall from the field and 23.8% (5-21) from long distance. The home team also suffered 15 turnovers against 7 steals by SHC. The Wolfpack controlled the area under the baskets for most of the contest and won the rebounding war 48-36.
Spring Hill (5-9, 1-6 SSAC) next travels to Montgomery on Saturday afternoon for a conference match with the Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) Warhawks (8-8, 3-4 SSAC) at 2 p.m. in the AUM P.E. Complex.