Rather than allow itself to be lulled to sleep by a seemingly disinterested and vastly inferior women's basketball team, Anne Arundel Community College did the expected yesterday.
It just took a bit longer than anticipated.
Engaged in their fifth game in six days and showing signs of fatigue, the Pioneers put forth a lackluster first half against the Community College of Baltimore. But the late arrivals of their head coach and fast-breaking offense keyed a 59-43 victory over the visiting Devils.
Tom Smith's job as a Washington police officer kept him away from the gymnasium until just under three minutes before halftime. Hehad been assigned to work an anti-abortion demonstration at the nation's capital, and originally feared he would be unavailable to coach.
He didn't miss much during his absence.
CCB (3-13) used a deliberate offense and solid rebounding to stay ahead for most of the first half, before Anne Arundel's Nikki Beall canned a three-pointer to move her team in front, 24-23, with 1 minute, 10 seconds left.
JenBerg (10 points, 13 rebounds) then stole the ball at midcourt and passed to Beall, whose layup gave the Pioneers a 26-23 lead. Katie Laidley, who registered a game-high 21 points, would hit from the outsideafter Beall rebounded her own missed free throw in the closing seconds to cap a 7-0 run.
Anne Arundel finally began pressing and pushing the ball up court in the second half and scored 17 straight pointsto blow the game open, 53-28.
"I think when they see a team like that come out on the floor, they play down," said Assistant Coach Beth Gray, who filled in for Smith. "They play at the level of the otherteam and don't push it. Even when you tell them to push it, they still lay back a little too much."
"We probably should have run the ball a lot more," said Arundel graduate Sarah Krucoff.
No small task, considering Anne Arundel's recent deluge of games.
"We were flat, no movement or anything," said Beall, a Meade graduate who finished with 12 points. "We were all tired, especially going up to DelawareTech (Monday). It was a long drive up and a long drive back."
Thereturn trip was especially grueling after the Pioneers had lost, 75-66. But yesterday's win was their fourth in five games and improved their record to 9-3.
The Pioneers are off until Friday, when they travel to Dundalk. Krucoff, for one, welcomes the reprieve, no matter how short.
"We'll practice for two days, but it'll be a nice breakto get away from all the games and traveling and tiredness."
Meanwhile, CCB continues to flounder. The Devils only dressed six playersfor the game, and one of them, Adrienne Boatwright (nine points, 11 rebounds) left with an injured ankle with 12:56 remaining and her team down, 45-28.
CCB played with little emotion throughout the game,at times appearing bored with the task at hand.
"I've never had aseason like this, but I've just got to live with it," said CCB coachJohn Rhames, who talked beforehand of only his second losing campaign in 12 years.
Patricia Gee led CCB with 13 points. Former Brooklyn Park guard Marla Hill struggled from the floor and had just three points.