All posts by patrickengel2018

Larry Nance Jr. sees a bright future for his Northwestern-bound brother

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – Larry Nance Jr.’s life is pretty good these days.

He plays alongside LeBron James for his home state’s NBA team. He moved from a team out of the playoff picture to one that, with the addition of him and a few others, looks like title contenders once again.

Nance participated in the Verizon Slam Dunk contest Saturday night, and narrowly missed winning. It’s same event his father, Larry Sr., ushered into basketball popularity with a victory in the inaugural version in 1984. The younger Nance spent countless hours watching clips of it when he was younger.

“For me, that was like Sesame Street,” Larry Jr. said earlier Saturday.

He admits, though, he has one shortcoming compared with another member of his family.

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Inside the sights, sounds and people of the Fake All-Star Saturday Night

By: Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – There’s no need to wait until Saturday night. Here are the final dramatic moments of the NBA All-Star Verizon Slam Dunk contest.

“It all comes down to this,” the emcee bellows. “Let’s see what Victor Oladipo has in store. He can make or break it right now.”

Instead, he’ll fake it.

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Loyola’s roller coaster displayed in loss to Valpo

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

Kate Achter came to her postgame media session armed with precise assurance of what had just happened.

“To me, what it looked like, is that we got complacent,” Loyola’s coach said, incredulous. “We thought it was going to be a 10-point win, and we were just ready to take it in. That speaks to our maturity. We’re not good enough to do that.”

That message was merited. What looked like an easy win for Loyola over a bottom-four team in the Missouri Valley turned into a debacle. Loyola had a 10-point lead in the final minute of the third quarter, then squandered it by giving up 30 points in the fourth.

The Ramblers lost 63-53 Sunday afternoon to Valparaiso, a team in its first season in the MVC after moving up from the Horizon League. Rather than notching their first winning streak in Achter’s two years as head coach, they fell to 5-18 and 3-9 in conference play.

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Ellie Rice’s bold request seems like a smart one

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

Four games into her college career, Ellie Rice approached her coach with an extraordinary request.

She asked to be removed from Loyola’s starting lineup and come off the bench instead.

No, she wasn’t losing her mental faculties. The freshman had, after all, turned down Dartmouth in favor of Loyola, becoming the second player from Texas in program history. Yes, a 1,600-point high school scorer and McDonald’s All-American nominee who dropped 20 points in her first college game really did volunteer to surrender a starting spot.

Following a November loss at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Rice approached Loyola coach Kate Achter about the move. In her last two starts, she had scored five points and shot 2-for-11 from the floor. A self-described visual learner, she wanted to see the game unfold from the sideline at first before she took the court. Achter needed no cajoling.

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Clayton Custer sparks Loyola again, leaving another reminder of his importance

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

At some point, someone was going to make a shot.

Loyola and Northern Iowa traded misses and turnovers for the opening nine minutes, giving the 2,658 fans in Gentile Arena the feeling that scoring 50 would bring a win. The teams combined for 11 points in the opening 9:06, with UNI holding a 7-4 edge.

That is, until Clayton Custer made a shot. Then another. And another.

When he finally missed – after five straight connections – Loyola had a five-point lead.

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Loyola impresses, showing a glimpse of what could be, in win over Evansville

By Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

Kate Achter is known for her quick arrivals to postgame press conferences. On occasion, she’ll even beat a reporter to the media room.

Sunday, though, she arrived in the Norville Center adjacent to Gentile Arena a couple minutes later than usual. Still digesting her team’s most complete performance of the season, she shoehorned in a moment to glance over the stat sheet before starting her presser in the lobby near Loyola’s locker room.

Unsurprisingly, Achter liked the numbers from Loyola’s 82-63 dusting of Evansville.

“They were hungry today,” Achter said.

But she couldn’t help mentioning the big picture of the win.

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Loyola impresses with near-comeback vs. Indiana State, but rough first half looms large

Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

Gentile Arena has potent loudspeakers for the Missouri Valley Conference’s smallest gym. They aren’t, however, enough to drown out an exasperated coach.

As Loyola’s cheer squad did its best to distract the paid attendance of 307 fans, Ramblers coach Kate Achter’s voice permeated their chants and the speakers’ music. Surrounded by her team in a huddle, she had just called timeout after Indiana State rattled off an 8-2 run to start the third quarter of Friday night’s game. A 12-point Loyola halftime deficit had ballooned to 18, and Achter saw no signs of it stopping.

“I feel like everybody in the gym could hear my timeout, because I was so frustrated with them,” said Achter, Loyola’s head coach. “But mostly frustrated for them. They were capable of more. And that’s what I told them.

It turns out Achter was right. Loyola tied ISU at 17 for the rest of the quarter, then ran out to seven straight points to start the fourth quarter, cutting ISU’s lead to 56-47 with 7:44 left.

ISU, though, responded with a 7-0 run of its own. The Sycamores went on to win the game, 73-65, dropping Loyola to 3-16 and 1-7 in the MVC.

The Ramblers did plenty of things well. They reached 60 points for the third time in four games and produced their highest-scoring game since Dec. 6. Their longest scoring drought spanned a survivable three minutes. They out-rebounded ISU 36-33 and made as many free throws than ISU attempted. They outscored ISU by 10 in the fourth quarter, making 11 of 18 field goals and going 4-for-6 from the 3-point line. A 20-point deficit narrowed to seven with 51 seconds left.

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