ALBANY, N.Y. -- There's one stop left on the Patty Stoffey Vindication Tour.
Stoffey, a Loyola junior forward who is the second-leading scorer in the nation, was passed over for Player of the Year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. For the second straight game, she scored a MAAC tournament-record 36 points, and the Greyhounds posted a 74-61 semifinal victory over St. Peter's at Knickerbocker Arena.
Two years removed from a 6-21 record, second-seeded Loyola (17-10) will meet fourth-seeded Fairfield in today's (3:30 p.m.) championship game, with the winner gaining a berth in the NCAA tournament. Fairfield upset top-seeded Siena and MAAC Player of the Year, Liz Lops.
Did the selection of Lops give Stoffey incentive?
"I guess it did, a little," said Stoffey, who was not trying to make any points, just score some.
In Friday's 76-62 quarterfinal win over Canisius, Stoffey improved the tournament record to 36 points. She matched it last night, setting tournament records for free throws made (18) and attempted (24). Stoffey scored 70 points against Fairfield in two regular-season victories, and unless the Lady Stags devise a scheme to stop her, she should break the three-game tournament scoring record of 80 points.
St. Peter's doubled up on Stoffey, limiting her to 11 points in the first half, when it took a 34-27 lead. Loyola was down by eight with 10 minutes left, but outscored St. Peter's 37-16 the rest of the way.
It was tied at 52 with 4:09 left when Stoffey took control, scoring nine straight points. She has 1,727 career points, and a seasonal scoring average of 26.4.
Loyola got 17 points and nine rebounds from Camille Joyner. It was a school-record eighth straight win for Loyola, which avenged a loss to St. Peter's in last year's MAAC title game.
"Considering where the program had been, I guess we were satisfied just to get to the title game last year," said Pat Coyle, Loyola's second-year coach. "Our players didn't understand what we were playing for. I think they do now."