The Towson State women's basketball team and winning might not be such strangers this season. Not if this weekend is any indication.
After beating Loyola, 87-58, last night at the Towson Center, the Tigers finished the Big Four Classic with a 2-0 record.
In the first game last night, Coppin State beat the University of Maryland Baltimore County, 68-54.
The tournament ended a draw because the two Baltimore County teams and the two Baltimore City teams each finished with 2-2 records.
Towson was the most dominating, though. The Tigers, who were 8-19 last season, pounded favored Coppin, 82-64, on Friday night.
The Tigers' success was primarily due to senior guard Tara Rottet, who was selected MVP of the Classic. Rottet, a second-team All-East Coast Conference selection last year, scored 21 points last night and 15 Friday night. She also was perfect on five three-point attempts last night. In the two games, she dished out 11 assists.
Playing an up-tempo style, the Tigers scoring domination started at halftime Friday night. They blew open a close game against Coppin with 48 second-half points.
Towson didn't lose a step overnight. The Tigers came out fast and scored 48 more points in the first half against the Greyhounds, who were beaten at their own game -- pressing, trapping and running.
Towson coach Ellen Fitzkee, whose team returned four starters and seven lettermen, said Friday that the last week of practice was especially good for the Tigers and she hoped the team could get off to a start like this.
In last night's first game, Coppin ran past the Retrievers, who couldn't find an offensive groove all weekend.
Part of the problem may have been adjusting to playing without point guard Missy Quille, who will miss the season because of academic problems.
The UMBC offense was left up to forward Angel Webb, the preseason ECC Player of the Year. But Webb could manage only 13 points, which led the Retrievers. UMBC's next highest scorers were Karynn Swann and Anne Wellington with seven.
Meantime, the Eagles offense looked a lot like Towson's. They ran, moved the ball well, and set each other up for easy shots under the basket. Coppin took control of the game with two 8-0 runs in the first half. UMBC never had a serious comeback in the second half.
Faye McCallum, who scored 30 points in the tournament, led the Eagles with 18 points and 12 rebounds last night. Tarese Hatch scored 14 and Karen Russell added 12 for the Eagles against UMBC.
NOTES: UMBC would probably like to forget its last three visits to the Towson Center. Before losing twice this weekend, the Retrievers lost to the Tigers in their final regular season game