CHICAGO — The Loyola University women's basketball team grabbed the lead in the final minute and held on to hand Illinois State a 62-59 Missouri Valley Conference loss on Sunday at Gentile Arena.
With the loss, the Rebirds fell to 6-8 overall and remain winless in conference play. Loyola improved to 3-12, 1-3.
The Redbirds got 18 points, six rebounds and four steals from Hannah Green while Simone Goods chipped in 15 points and five boards.
Abby O'Connor scored a career-high 24 points to lead Loyola.
ISU trailed 15-11 after the first quarter and saw the deficit grow to 23-11 early in the second. The Redbirds battled back, closing the half with a pair of baskets from Megan Talbot to cut the Ramblers' lead to 26-22 at intermission. Talbot finished with eight points and four rebounds.
Green, who was held scoreless in the first half, hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter to spark an 18-12 run and give ISU a 40-38 lead heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair with the Redbirds holding a 57-56 lead with under a minute to play before O'Connor, who scored 17 in the final period, knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Ramblers the lead for good.
Loyola would then come up with a pair of crucial defensive stops, forcing the Redbirds to foul. The Ramblers hit all four free throws down the stretch to seal their first conference victory.
Illinois State shot 38.6 percent from the field and was 8-of-14 from the free throw line. Loyola shot 48.7 percent from the field and was 16-of-19 from the charity stripe, including a perfect 12-for-12 in the fourth quarter.
The Redbirds return home for a pair of games next weekend, hosting Missouri State on Friday before squaring off against Southern Illinois on Sunday.