All the turnovers in the world couldn't stop Loyola Ramblers from finding a way into a meeting with the No. 1 seed Wichita State. 31 turnovers weren't enough as Loyola (6-24) beat No. 8 seed Bradley Braves (6-24) 67-55 on the opening day of the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
The Ramblers are proving to be a tough out in the Missouri Valley. It was a rematch of last year's 8-9 game, but with the seeding reversed. The result was the same, with Loyola winning last season 75-69. They eventually fell to the No. 1 seed, Indiana State later in the tournament.
Taylor Manuel scored 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting to lead the Ramblers into the quarterfinals.
The Ramblers used a 15-2 run that spanned over 13 minutes in the first half to create their first real separation. Before that it was a back and forth battle form both teams, consisting of poor missed shots and turnovers galore.
There was a span of four minutes in which both teams had a gentlemen's agreement to not score any points. The score remained 19-13 until Bailey Farley nailed a 3-pointer with 5:04 left in the first half.
Farley finished with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting. She nailed two treys on the evening.
After Manuel gave the Ramblers a 44-26 lead with 11:42 left in the contest and held a consistent lead until late in the game when the Braves fought back finally. Using an 11-0 run over the span of about two minutes, Bradley had decimated the Loyola lead from 17 to six with 5:43 to go.
Loyola closed the game, outscoring the Braves 12-6 down the stretch.
For Bradley, it's their third straight conference tournament loss. They haven't won a game since beating Southern Illinois Salukis in 2012's tournament.
Loyola will now take on Wichita State at noon on Friday, March 13. You can watch on ESPN3 or follow along with @OKCChuck on twitter for all your Missouri Valley Conference needs during the week.