ISU survived a fight from Loyola, as the contest was tied 29-29 going into the break. Laramie posted her third double-double of the year as tied senior guard Anna Munn for a team-high 15 points. The O’Fallon, Mo. native also grabbed 10 rebounds in the quarterfinal win.
Mahan tied a career-high 17 rebounds in her fourth double-double of the season, as she also added 10 points on the afternoon. ISU out-rebounded the Ramblers, 49-40, including a 21-8 edge on the offensive glass.
The Ramblers (11-21) would get within two in the second half, on a layup by forward Bailey Farley with 6:47 to play. Munn stretched the lead back to four with a baseline jumper and Mahan added a bucket of her own to take a 50-44 lead.
Free throws were crucial down the stretch with the Sycamores sinking eight of 17 made from the charity stripe in the final 4:30 of the ball game.
It wasn’t the Sycamores’ best shooting effort, as they went just 29.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the arc. Munn made two of the four ISU three pointers on the afternoon.
The Sycamore defense held Loyola to 36.2 percent shooting and just 16.7 percent from beyond the arc (2-for-12). ISU forced 17 Rambler turnovers and picked up 10 steals.
Junior guard Stephanie Wittman came off the bench to go 4-for-6 from the field with nine points. MVC Newcomer of the Year Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir was limited to just eight points, getting half of them from the free throw line. She chipped in a team-high four assists while tying Laramie for three steals.
ISU opened both halves with buckets on the inside, scoring 18 of its points in the paint. They came out hot in the first half, taking an early 9-2 lead on a three pointer by Munn.
Loyola would chip away, tying things up at nine all with 14:29 to play. Six ties and six lead changes happened in the first half alone.
Head coach Teri Moren improved to 2-3 in MVC Tournament games, also winning her 199th game as a head coach.
The Sycamores will face the winner of the No. 4 Drake and No. 5 Evansville game tomorrow at 2:37 p.m. ET. The game will be live on Fox Sports Midwest.
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