Loyola shot 20 of 25 from the free-throw line as the Ramblers defeated SIUE women’s basketball 56-43 at the Gentile Center in Chicago.
In what was a close contest for much of the game, Loyola took advantage of its free-throw opportunities, hitting 9 of 12 in the final 10 minutes Thursday, to improve to 6-2 overall while the Cougars dropped to 3-3.
“You can’t foul Loyola,” said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. “They shoot the ball too well at the free-throw line.”
Loyola came into the game ranked No. 7 nationally in free-throw percentage as a team.
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Meanwhile, the Cougars shot better from the free-throw line (83.3 percent) but only appeared at the charity stripe six times.
“Loyola was the most aggressive team on both ends and that showed tonight,” said Buscher. “We must be more competitive. We have it in us, and it is my job to get us back on track.”
Nakiah Bell was the bright spot for the Cougars. She led all scorers with a season-high 16 points.
“I thought Nakiah was looking to score,” said Buscher. “I thought she did a nice job offensively. We need other people that step up and score.”
SIUE shot 32.1 percent from the field (18-56) and 12.5 percent (2-16) from three-point range. SIUE was out-rebounded for the first time this season 41-33.
Loyola’s Abby O’Connor stepped up for a team-leading 14 points, followed by 13 points and 10 rebounds from Tiara Wallace, as well as 10 points from Janae Gonzalez.
SIUE continues this road swing on Saturday with a 2 p.m. game at Chicago State.