Both Loyola’s and Xavier’s women’s basketball teams will be seeking to extend streaks.
While Loyola (12-0) will be entering Wednesday’s game at Xavier’s Convocation Center undefeated, Xavier (8-8) will seek its second consecutive win after it snapped a four-game slide Monday. The Gold Nuggets defeated Talladega 67-60.
For Loyola coach Kellie Kennedy, staying in the present has been important.
“Well, we’ve been trying to go one game at a time all year. That’s all we can do and that’s all we need to focus on,” Kennedy said. “Staying in the present is very important for us. You never can look ahead, especially with a team like Xavier.”
The seventh-ranked Wolf Pack have had experience in winning games by margins of less than 10 points, its most recent being Saturday’s 69-60 win at Auburn-Montgomery.
“One thing that that’s given us is an opportunity to prove to ourselves that we can win close games, and I think that does a lot for your confidence and it does a lot for the next time it happens,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think that’s a bad thing for us, winning games at a close margin. I think it’s good experience for us this time of year, and probably something that we’ve needed.”
Loyola had a 17-5 scoring surge against the Warhawks in the second half that aided the win.
“Auburn-Montgomery went ahead of us in that second half,” Kennedy said. “We were able to fight back. We were able to get a good lead in the last three minutes of that game and hold on to it. I thought that would be important for us going in to the Xavier game.”
Xavier coach Bo Browder said the win against Talladega was huge and could provide his team with renewed energy.
While the Gold Nuggets lost six seniors, causing former role players to fill their spots, Browder does not see the season as a rebuilding year.
“We’re always hoping to compete at a high level,” he said. “We’re going to get everybody’s best game.”
Whitney Gathright leads Xavier with average of 13.9 points per game while Vinnie Briggs is averaging 11.9. Donyeah Mayfield averages a team-high six rebounds a game while Briggs has 5.6.
Loyola’s Janeicia Neely is averaging a team-high 14.8 points per game while Briana Oglesby checks in with 10.9.
Xavier has 36.8 percent field goal shooting and is averaging 34.8 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
Loyola checks in with 47.1 percent shooting from the field and is holding opponents to 28.4 percent. The Wolf Pack is averaging 40.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc.