Georgetown College was able to grab some one-point leads in the second half Thursday.
The problem for the Tigers was Loyola wouldn’t let the lead get any larger.
Loyola (La.), a No. 7 seed, knocked off second-seeded Georgetown 87-80 in the first round of the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship at the Frankfort Convention Center.
“We made some runs,” Georgetown coach Andrea McCloskey said, “but they seemed to have an answer for us when we made our runs. That was a tough one.”
Loyola (22-11) used strong shooting to get off to a good start. The Wolf Pack led 48-41 at halftime, and seven points turned out to be the final margin of the game.
“We’re a team when our shots are falling, we’re hard to defend,” Loyola coach Kellie Kennedy said. “We came out and shot well, and that gave us confidence for everything else we were trying to do.”
The Wolf Pack shot 57.6 percent in the first half, including 50 percent (5 for 10) on 3-pointers.
“We needed to buckle down a little more on defense in the first half,” McCloskey said. “They had a great shooting night, and that hurt us early.”
Loyola had the lead at eight points twice early in the second half when Georgetown (21-9) went on an 11-2 run to take a 54-53 lead with 13:46 remaining.
The two teams traded baskets on their next two possessions, keeping the Tigers’ lead at one, 59-58, but Loyola scored the next three points on a layup by Meghan Temple and a 3-pointer by Megan Whittaker to go up 63-59, and the Wolf Pack never trailed again.
“The kids responded,” Kennedy said. “I called a couple of key timeouts, and we called plays out of those timeouts.
“It’s important to execute plays out of timeouts or otherwise you’ve wasted them.”
The Tigers had a 6-0 run late in the game to tie it at 76, but Loyola scored the next three points and went 8 for 10 from the foul line in the final 1:12 to put the game away.
“Our defense was going to do it for us,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to get stops and not put them on the free throw line because they’re so good from there.”
The Wolf Pack had four players in double figures, led by Jasmine Brewer and Whittaker with 17 points each.
Georgetown’s Jessica Foster had a game-high 22 points, and Kourtney Tyra had 20 points.
Thursday’s game closed out the collegiate career of Georgetown’s Andrea Howard, a senior guard who is a graduate of Franklin County High School. She finished the game with two points and seven rebounds.
Loyola will play Our Lady of the Lake University tonight at 8 in the second round.
GEORGETOWN (80) — Lizza Jonas 17, Jessica Foster 22, Andrea Howard 2, Kourtney Tyra 20, Devanny King 8, Haley Armstrong 9, Teonia McCune 2.
LOYOLA (87) — Jasmine Brewer 17, Shayne Charles 4, Megan Whittaker 17, Kylah Jones 12, Janeicia Neely 10, Rebekah Greer 6, Briana Oglesby 3, Jackie Anderson 2, Caroline Gonzalez 7, Meghan Temple 9.
Lady of the Lake 97, Talladega 94
Sixth-seeded Talladega (Ala.) led by 17 points with 15:09 left in the game, but Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) came roaring back to take the victory in Thursday’s first game of the night session.
The Saints shot 66.7 percent in the second half and scored 60 points after trailing Talladega 49-37 at halftime.
The Tornadoes (26-5) built their first-half lead on 44.2 percent shooting while Our Lady of the Lake shot just 27.5 percent.
Both teams had five players in double figures. The Saints (27-4) were led by Courtney Bayliss with a game-high 29 points. Ornela Bacchini and Electra Roberts both scored 17.
Talladega had two players with double-doubles — Ryven Jackson had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Jamie Robinson had 20 points and 17 rebounds.
John Brown 70, Lyon 53
Fifth-seeded John Brown University led nearly the entire game, turning back Lyon in the third game of Thursday’s night session.
The game was tied twice, and Lyon never had the lead. John Brown’s largest lead was 19 points midway through the second half.
Kortni Barenberg led John Brown with 21 points, and Lauren Rogers finished with 19.
Elliot Taylor and Carina Jackson both scored 15 points to lead the Scots (24-9).
John Brown (26-7) faces Vanguard in the second round tonight at 9:45.
CS San Marcos 47
Top-seeded Vanguard (27-1) made quick work of eighth-seeded Cal State San Marco, racing out to a 54-19 halftime lead and cruising to victory in the final game of the first round.
The Lions shot 46.5 percent from the field and 52.3 percent from 3-point range (11 for 21).
Cal State San Marcos (15-18) shot 26.4 percent.
Nicole Ballestero scored a game-high 38 points for Vanguard and was one of three Lions in double figures. Teammate Melissa Norman led all players with 12 rebounds, and Taylor Belmont had eight assists.
Sherika Miller led the Cougars with 12 points.