The first time the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens ever faced off against Loyola University (La.) wound up being an historic occasion for the home team.
The winningest collegiate women’s basketball program in the nation picked up its milestone 1,700th win Thursday night in Hutcherson Center, coming away with a hard-earned 76-71 victory over the Wolf Pack on the first day of the 2021 Queens Classic
A strong finish by the eighth-ranked, undefeated Flying Queens (5-0) secured the triumph as Wayland used a late 10-2 run to break a 65-65 tie against No. 23 Loyola, which was making its season-opener.
New Flying Queen Fapou Semebene hit both of her two field goals during the win-clinching run, while all-Americans Jenna Cooper and Kaylee Edgemon added a pair of clutch free throws apiece. Another new face, senior point-guard Angel Hayden, came up with numerous key offensive rebounds in addition to a bucket down the stretch.
Edgemon ended with 22 points while Cooper got 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Hayden, meanwhile, produced 13 points and 13 boards (eight offensive) in addition to her five assists. Ashlyn Shelley tacked on eight points, Semebene six, Taryn Shultz five and Lara Mason two.
Wayland didn’t have a particularly strong shooting night, hitting just 33 percent (22-of-66), and suffered 23 turnovers. But the Queens nailed 10 3s, sank 20-of-23 free throws and, maybe most importantly, out-rebounded the Wolf Pack, 52-35, including 24-14 on the offensive end.
Loyola was led by Tay Cannon, who got 22 points and nine rebounds. Kennedy Hansberry added 15 points.
The Queens Classic – featuring a single game each day of the three-day, three-team event – continues Friday when Loyola takes on Our Lady of the Lake at 4 p.m. The Flying Queens are back on the floor at 2 p.m. Saturday to face OLLU.