NEW ORLEANS – A Kellie Kennedy-led Loyola Wolf Pack women’s basketball team has never had a better start to a season than this year’s team, as Loyola defeated Blue Mountain Christian University, 95-55, for its 15th straight win to start the 2022-23 campaign.

In fact, the Pack’s 15-0 record is the best start to a season in school history, as the previous best was a 14-0 mark during the 2014-15 season. 

Loyola (8-0 in Southern States Athletic Conference) will play its final of four straight home games on Saturday, hosting Stillman College for a 2 p.m. SSAC contest in The Den. 

Sitting on 999 career points, it didn’t take long for Taylor Thomas to enter the 1,000-point club, as she drained a 3-pointer on Loyola’s first possession of the game. Liz Critton and Sandra Cannady gave the Wolf Pack a 7-0 lead before BMCU could even find the bottom of the net, too. Jazmene McMillan made it four different players to get on the board in the early going, as she made back-to-back shots for the Pack to bring the score to 11-6 midway through the opening quarter. The Toppers hung around, though, keeping it close at 13-10, but 3-pointers by Sydni Tangle and Thomas made it a 22-12 Loyola lead in the final 90 seconds of the frame.

Tay Cannon got her first points and Thomas, who had 10 points in the first 10 minutes, beat the buzzer to help bring the 26-14 lead into the next quarter. 

Kennedy Hansberry scored twice in the first few minutes of the second to keep up the pace, 34-18, then Cannady added consecutive scores a few moments later, 38-21. The Toppers, however, outscored the Wolf Pack 9-3 during the final five minutes of the half to make it a 41-30 ballgame at the break. 

Hansberry, Critton, Cannady and McMillan powered a 12-0 run for the Wolf Pack to start the second half, 53-30. Hansberry converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to start the run, then Critton scored twice followed by a free throw from McMillan and back-to-back buckets by Cannady before the Toppers could get on the board three-plus minutes into the frame. Two free throws each by Hansberry, Cannady and Cannon extended the advantage to 61-38, and two made shots by Cannon after a Hansberry 3-pointer allowed Loyola to take a dominant 68-42 lead into the final frame. 

Then Loyola did what it always does late in games – close it out strong. The Pack outscored the Toppers 27-13 in the final 10 minutes with Tera SnellMorgan HerveyJada Washington and MG Lymon all registering points to give the team 11 scorers. 
 

Pack Facts

  • Loyola has not lost a game in The Den since Feb. 8, 2020, winning 25 in a row.
  • The Wolf Pack’s 15-0 record is the best start to a season in school history. The previous best start was 14-0, set in the 2014-15 season.
  • On the first play of the game, Taylor Thomas became the third active member of the team to enter the 1,000-point club. Finishing the game with 15 points, Thomas now has 1,014 in her career with the Wolf Pack.
  • Thomas also had a game-high five assists. The Wolf Pack combined for 20 team assists, the sixth time this season that the team has totaled at least 20 dimes.
  • Kennedy Hansberry led the team in scoring with 17. She and Sydni Tangle each had four assists as well.
  • Thomas, Hansberry, Tangle, and MG Lymon each knocked down two shots from long range as the Wolf Pack went 8-for-20 on three-pointers. It was the team’s fifth game this season making at least eight shots from deep, and they’ve shot 40 percent or better in three of those games.
  • In just 24 minutes, Sandra Cannady stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals, two blocks, and an assist. 
  • Tay Cannon also made the most of her minutes, scoring 13 points with nine rebounds in just 14 minutes of action. 

{Courtesy: Loyola Athletics}