The Eastern women’s basketball team fell short to Loyola-Chicago, 86-75, in overtime despite coming back from an 11-point deficit.
With the loss, Eastern falls to 1-2 and has now lost two games in a row. It is also the second-straight home game that went to overtime.
Coach Debbie Black said she was disappointed in the close loss, but she was happy with the effort that her team put forth.
“It was tough to come up short even though we fought hard to get back into the game,” Black said. “I thought we played well enough to win the game, but it wasn’t enough.”
Eastern had a 68-65 lead over Loyola-Chicago with time winding down in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore forward Grace Lennox fouled Loyola-Chicago sophomore guard Sam Lambrigtsen with just five seconds remaining.
Lambrigtsen hit all three of her free throw attempts to send the game to its eventual overtime.
Black said her team tried to put the game away but could not use up enough time.
“We went on the attack on those final possessions,” Black said. “All we needed to do was hold onto the ball and force them to foul us.”
In overtime, Eastern was outscored 18-7 in overtime despite holding a lead at the 3:06 mark of the period.
Black said her team just lost control of the game and Loyola-Chicago took advantage of Eastern’s mistakes.
“They just managed to pull away when it mattered the most,” Black said. “Their shots began to fall and we just made too many mistakes.”
Throughout the game, senior guard Shakita Cox consistently made shots, including two three pointers, on her way to her team-leading 18 points.
Black said Cox’s production was a bonus but her 10 turnovers were a downside to her play.
“I thought she was playing too fast at certain points in the game,” Black said. “She was a spark for us even though she gave the ball away a few too many times.”
Senior guard Alece Shumpert and junior forward Erica Brown posted 15 points each for a tie for second on the team.
Brown led the team in rebounds, with 16, to complete her double-double. She also saw 40 minutes on the floor.
Sophomore forward Jalisha Smith hit every one of her four field goal attempts and added three free throws on an 11-point night.
Eastern shot 41.7 percent from the floor including 55.6 percent in the second half.
Their comeback was staged during the third quarter, as they outscored Loyola-Chicago 25-17 during the period.
Eastern committed 25 turnovers, compared to Loyola-Chicago’s 17. But they did see an edge on the rebounding side, as they outrebounded Loyola-Chicago 41-35.
At the free throw line, Eastern was 17-21 for 81 percent.
Following another overtime game at home, Black said the season is off to an entertaining start.
“It’s been fun to play in games like this,” Black said. “I’d rather it be a bit easier, but we’ll work on it.”
Eastern will see action again on Thursday at 6 p.m. as they travel to 0-2 Indiana State.
Elias Albert can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]