The spotlight again was on senior Patty Stoffey last night at Reitz Arena. Fans wanted to see if Stoffey could help the Greyhounds win, as well as repeat a 20- or 30-point performance -- as she has done so many times in the past.
And she did.
Stoffey had 37 points and 10 rebounds and made a clinching basket in the final minute of the Greyhounds' 79-76 victory over Fairfield.
Fairfield (6-7, 1-1), playing without leading scorer Lauren Reitwiesner (broken nose), closed a 13-point halftime deficit to five on Christine Wallace's layup with 1:34 remaining in the second half.
Fairfield then called a timeout with 49 seconds left after another Wallace layup made the score 77-74.
But Loyola's Coleen Colsher passed inside to Stoffey, whose layup made it 79-74. Loyola freshman Kristin Fraser then fouled Chantel Williams, who made two free throws.
Camille Joyner (18 points) threw a long pass to Stoffey, who missed a shot with one second left. Fairfield called a timeout and then took one last shot, but point guard Christine Fryer missed a desperation three-point attempt.
Coach Pat Coyle had warned her Greyhounds (10-3, 2-1) that yesterday's game was important.
"I told the girls it was a big league game and a great rivalry. Games like those are always wars," said Coyle.
Fairfield moved the ball around the perimeter rapidly in the first half, causing Loyola's man-to-man defense to scramble. Fryer (six assists) found 6-foot-3 senior center Wallace (23 points, 13 rebounds) inside.
But by the half, Loyola was leading 44-31. Stoffey and Joyner were in double figures and no Fairfield player scored more than seven points.
"We didn't come out of the gate initially," Fairfield coach Dianne Nolan said. "But we forced the transition in the second half."