Loyola’s combination of Maggie Nick from the outside and Sarah Elston on the inside proved to be too great for St. Ignatius to handle Wednesday night in the GCAC Red semifinals.
Nick scored a game-high 23 points, including three 3-pointers, and the 6-foot-1 Elston scored seven of her 15 points in the decisive third quarter as the Ramblers won for the eighth consecutive time. Loyola beat St. Ignatius 52-41 at Mother McAuley to advance to the conference championship against the host Macs (17-8) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Trinity (19-5) will meet St. Ignatius (14-10) in the third place game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Loyola (19-8) has won 13 of its last 14 games and hasn’t lost since a 72-48 defeat to Trinity on Jan. 18. Loyola knocked off McAuley on its home court two weeks ago by one point. Loyola reached the tournament final for the fifth time in the last six years and aims for its third win in five years.
“I definitely think [the win streak] makes us realize how well we can play together,” said Nick, who scored 17 points in the second half by going 6-of-8 at the free-throw line. “This gives us confidence for everyone on the team.”
The Ramblers’ defense forced several turnovers in the third quarter after the game was tied at 20 at halftime. Loyola scored the first 10 points in the second half and outscored the Wolfpack 17-5 in the quarter.
“We didn’t take care of the ball in the third quarter,” St. Ignatius coach Cara Doyle said. “You can’t get down to Loyola. We didn’t have help side on that [against Elston]. She’s a great player and played a great game.”
Junior guard Emma Brennan led the Wolfpack with 20 points, including four 3-pointers