Loyola Marymount University’s basketball teams gave their fans double the pleasure Jan. 31, with both recording victories at Gersten Pavilion.
The women opened the evening with a 61-58 upset of nationally-ranked BYU, ending the No. 25 Cougars’ 11-game winning streak with outstanding clutch defense and timely shooting. The men then followed with their best defensive effort of the year, a 60-42 thrashing of Pacific.
LMU (12-10 overall, 5-5 West Coast Conference) rallied late in the fourth quarter to hand BYU (17-4, 8-1) its first conference loss.
After leading by 11 with 6 minutes left, the Lions trailed 57-54 with 42 seconds remaining, and 58-56 with 17 seconds to play. But Josie Buckingham’s steal resulted in Jasmine Jones’ layup and free throw that gave LMU a 59-58 edge with nine seconds left, and Buckingham’s block led to two free throws by Andee Velasco to secure the win.
“We have been talking a lot about putting some things together and all being on the same page,” said LMU coach Charity Elliott. “I thought tonight, defensively, they were really locked in on what we were trying to do. It was our defense at the end of the game that got two critical stops to finish the game for us.”
Jones scored 21 points with six rebounds and five assists; Bree Alford tallied 14, with 13 rebounds; Cierra Belvin scored 11; and Velasco had six assists.
“I am really proud of our players,” said Elliott. “They had to work so hard being outsized the whole night, yet they battled and battled. Our bench was amazing, our crowd was amazing, and this was a big win. I am really proud of them.”
The Lions host San Diego on Saturday at 2 p.m., where they will be joined by Girl Scouts to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
LMU (16-6, 4-4 WWC) never trailed in defeating Pacific, opening the game on a 10-0 run and never looking back.
"It's the best defense we've played since I've been here," said LMU coach Mike Dunlap. "To do what we did statistically to any Division I team is very special. Even when it got really tight in the second half, we got stops."
LMU held Pacific to just six field goals for a 27-21 lead at halftime, then outscored Pacific 17-1 over the final 8:10 of the game to turn a close contest into a rout. James Batemon led all scorers with 19 points, freshman Dameane Douglas had 15 (and eight rebounds) and Mattias Markusson scored 13.
The Lions travel to Utah to play BYU Saturday, 6 pm PST.
Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).
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