LOS ANGELES - The Loyola Marymount women’s basketball team (6-0) closed out the 20th Annual Thanksgiving Classic with a 73-64 victory over the Eastern Michigan University Eagles (2-4). The Lions went 2-0 in the Thanksgiving Classic as they also defeated Miami (OH) on Friday, 84-71. Junior Cheyanne Wallace was named All-Tournament MVP after averaging 26.0 points and 8.0 rebounds over the two contests.
The other four members of the All-Tournament team were Bree Alford (LMU), Lauren Dickerson (Miami), Briana Johnson (Denver) and Danielle Minott (Eastern Michigan).
Alford posted averages of 11.5 points and 8.5 boards in the Thanksgiving Classic.
The Lions got out to a hot start on Saturday, outscoring Eastern Michigan 14-2 over the first five minutes of play and 16-6 overall in the first quarter as Wallace and Gabby Green each poured in four points in the frame.
Eastern Michigan’s Sasha Dailey went off in the second quarter, scoring 13 of her team’s 15 points in the period, but LMU still edged EMU 16-15 in the frame to take a 32-21 lead at the half. Alford led the Lions in scoring in the half with nine points to go along with four boards.
After being held scoreless in the first half, Eagles guard Micah Robinson posted 13 points in the third quarter to help EMU edge LMU 21-20 in the frame, but the Lions maintained a 52-42 lead with one quarter remaining.
The Eagles outscored the Lions 18-10 over the first seven minutes of the final quarter to cut LMU’s lead to two, 62-60, with 2:48 remaining. A three-pointer by senior Makenzie Cast put the Lions back up by five, 65-60. Dailey scored a quick two for EMU and Jasmine Jones made one-of-two free throws for LMU to make it 66-62 with 1:34 left. The Lions ended up sealing the victory at the free-throw line, as Wallace netted five and freshman Chelsey Gipson put in two, making the final score 73-64. Wallace posted 10 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Cast finished with 11 points, knocking down three 3-pointers on the night. Jones added nine points, seven boards and two steals, while Andee Velasco dished out a game-high five assists.
The Lions led from start to finish in the victory. LMU’s bench tallied 27 points compared to EMU’s five. The Lions held a 48-40 edge over the Eagles on the boards.
"We pulled out the win against a very scrappy team," LMU head coach Charity Elliott said. "We have a long way to go but I'm very proud of what we have done so far. Props to Makenzie Cast and Bree Alford for their leadership and Jasmine [Jones] and Chelsey [Gipson] were both difference-makers today."
LMU will look to improve to 7-0 on the season when it faces off against California State Dominguez Hills on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. in the first game of a double-header with the LMU men’s team who hosts California State Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m. The last time the Lions began a season 6-0 was when they won their first eight games in 2003-04.
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