Women’s Basketball: Loyola falls to Faulkner in SSAC Championship final

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The top-seeded Loyola Wolf Pack women’s basketball was outdone by the No. 2-seed Faulkner Lady Eagles in the SSAC Championship final on Saturday, 67-55, ending Loyola’s pursuit of three straight SSAC Championship titles.

Loyola (27-2) was announced as a host for the NAIA National Championship Opening Round earlier in the week, which is set to take place in The Den March 7-8. The rest of the field will be announced on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Loyola got off to a good start with scores by Liz Critton and Sandra Cannady to open with a 4-0 lead, then Cannady and Jazmene McMillan scored for the Wolf Pack to make it an 8-4 lead three minutes into the game. The Lady Eagles, though, scored 10 straight points to take their first lead, 14-8, with a few minutes left in the opening frame. McMillan ended the scoring drought with a score, and Kennedy Hansberry hit a 3-pointer to bring the score to 16-13. But, Faulkner got another run to end the first, taking a 21-13 lead into the second.

Faulkner was able to push its lead even more in the second, outscoring Loyola 17-11 in the next set of 10 minutes to take a 38-24 lead into the break.

After Faulkner scored the first six points of the third quarter, 45-24, Loyola went on a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to 11, 48-37, near the four-minute mark of the frame. Cannady scored back-to-back field goals, Tay Cannon scored twice, and both Sydni Tangle and Taylor Thomas each had a bucket to help Loyola get back into the contest. Faulkner, however, closed the quarter with 10 of the game’s next 16 points to head into the fourth with a 58-43 advantage.

Loyola didn’t give up in the final 10 minutes, but it was a low-scoring quarter for both teams. Cannady scored a field goal and a free throw, and Thomas added a jumper midway through the frame to make it a 60-48 game. A big 3-pointer by Tera Snell cut it to 11, 61-50, then Cannady scored to bring it to single digits, 61-52, but that was as close as the Wolf Pack could get to Faulkner.

Tournament Schedule
Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the Multiplex
Game 1: #8 Life def. #9 Middle Georgia, 68-48
Game 3: #7 Blue Mountain def. #10 Talladega, 55-53

Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Multiplex
Game 5: #4 William Carey def. #5 Mobile, 63-56
Game 7: #1 Loyola def. #8 Life, 58-42
Game 9: #2 Faulkner def. #7 Blue Mountain, 63-55
Game 11: #3 Brewton-Parker def. #6 Stillman, 55-45

Friday, Feb. 24 at the Multiplex
Game 13: #1 Loyola def. #4 William Carey, 59-48
Game 15: #2 Faulkner def. #3 Brewton-Parker, 69-64

Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Multiplex:
Championship: #2 Faulkner def. #1 Loyola, 67-55

Pack Facts
Three players scored in double figures for the Wolf Pack: Taylor Thomas (14), Sandra Cannady (13), and Tay Cannon (8). Cannon also led the team with eight rebounds.

Kennedy Hansberry is now second in career assists in Loyola’s record book with 481.

Before Saturday’s game, 10th place in career steals at Loyola was 177. Now, Thomas is into the top 10 with 178, while Hansberry is at 177 for her career.

Cannady is now fifth in the Wolf Pack record book in single-season rebounds with 298.

With two blocks in the game, Cannady is now also up to 29 blocks this year, tied with Tera Snell’s total last season for sixth in Loyola’s single-season blocks list.

Tay Cannon also had a block against Faulkner to give her 56 for her career, tied for sixth in career blocks at Loyola.

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