Loyola women's basketball team dropped out of the latest NAIA coaches' top 25 poll after losing two of its past three games to fall to 4-4 this season.
However, the Wolf Pack received something of a reprieve Wednesday night at Southern-New Orleans, taking a 85-48 victory.
“I still have the upmost faith in this group that we have,” Loyola coach Kellie Kennedy said. “They work hard, they play hard, they want to succeed. I think we can get a little confidence and really do well.”
Kennedy Hansbury and Tay Cannon led four Loyola scorers with 13 points each. The win gave Loyola (5-4) a season sweep against SUNO (4-9), which it had beaten 73-45 at the Den on Nov. 20.
Like that game, the Wolf Pack pressed and didn't waste time gaining control against the Knights of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. Loyola went on a 13-0 run in taking a 24-8 lead by the end of the first quarter.
With guards Kaila Anthony and Cannon leading the way, the Wolf Pack led 49-22 at halftime. Anthony had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-3 on 3s. Cannon scored nine, also on 4-of-5 shooting.
First-year SUNO coach Nikki Collins said her team, which has eight freshmen, is taking baby steps. But she was disappointed in the blowyout loss.
“Loyola didn't do anything spectacular; they did what Loyola does,” Collins said. “They had two fewer turnovers (25-23) than us, yet we lost by a lot. It's the little things, like boxing out.”
Forward Andriel Moss led the Knights with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and guard Sha'quanta Pettis had 12 points.
The Wolf Pack will begin a six-game homestand starting with No. 23 Dillard on Saturday. The Bleu Devils (8-3) were unranked before the latest poll came out on Monday. Dillard was picked by the GCAC coaches to win its second consecutive regular-season championship.
After facing Dillard, Loyola will begin play in the Southern States Athletic Conference, which it was picked to win by the conference coaches. The Wolf Pack finished second last season by a half game then won the SSAC tournament.no