A 37-11 run over the end of the first half and start of the second proved to be the difference as the Wright State women's basketball team rolled to a 91-67 decision over Loyola Wednesday in the Horizon League quarterfinals at WSU's Nutter Center.
WSU led for most of the first half, but the margin was only three at 31-28 following a Lauren Hibbard layup with seven minutes remaining in the period. Three consecutive threes from Kim Demmings, Courtney Boyd and KC Elkins, however, shot the lead into double digits for the first time and, behind seven more points from Demmings and two by Shaunda Sandifer in the final four minutes, the Raiders went into the halftime break up 49-33.
Both teams shot the ball well in the opening 20 minutes as Loyola was at 52 percent, including four of seven from behind the arc, while Wright State was at 53 percent, including eight of 15 from three-point range. The Raiders, though, had 11 more field goal attempts thanks to a 19-11 rebounding advantage, 10-3 on the offensive end.
WSU broke the game open with a 19-6 run over the initial five minutes of the second half, 12 of those coming from seniors Molly Fox and Sandifer, and led by as much as 33 on two occasions, the second being 77-44 on a Sarah Hunter jumper with 9:37 to play.
The Raiders shot 47 percent for the night, including 10 of 27 from three, while the Ramblers shot 46 percent and were nine of 18 from three. Wright State finished with a 43-33 rebounding edge and led in points in the paint (30-8), points off of turnovers (20-10) and second-chance points (23-7).
Four WSU players scored in double figures, led by Demmings' 30 points, marking the third time that the Horizon League First Teamer and Co-Newcomer of the Year has reached the 30-point plateau, the others being 38 points against Milwaukee on January 14 and 34 versus Detroit on February 16. Demmings, who had 24 of her 30 points in the first half, also posted a double-double on the night with 10 rebounds.
Fox, a Second Team All-Horizon League selection earlier in the week, had 17 points, 13 after halftime, and collected nine rebounds while Boyd also had 17, 12 in the first half. Sandifer added 11 points and nine boards.
Monica Albano paced #6 seed Loyola (13-16) with 18 points while Patrice King had 14 and Hibbard 10.
With the win, Wright State (20-11) reaches the 20-win mark for the second straight season under head coach Mike Bradbury. It is the first time that the Raiders have ever won 20 or more games in back-to-back seasons and is just the third 20-win season in program history overall (24-6 in 1986-87, the final season in Division II).
The #3 seeded Raiders now head to Green Bay for a Horizon League semifinal matchup on Friday at 6:00 Eastern against #2 seed Detroit (19-12), who advanced with a 79-43 win over Cleveland State. The winner of that game face the Green Bay/UIC winner for the league title on Sunday at 1:00 Eastern in Green Bay.