Before a capacity crowd estimated at more than 2,900 at Loyola's Reitz Arena, No. 11 Mercy defeated No. 10 Institute of Notre Dame, 48-35, in a Catholic League contest last night.
Senior guard Stephanie Rohe led all scorers with 21 points and had eight rebounds and four assists for the Sharpshooters (10-3, 4-2). Gayle Belz added 14 and a game-high 10 rebounds.
In the first meeting at Mercy, the Indians (6-4, 3-2) edged the Sharpshooters, 51-48. But last night, they weren't really in the game after the opening minutes and were outplayed in every facet.
"If you look at it between the turnovers and our foul shooting, that was the difference in the ball game," said IND coach Jerry Hahn, "but Mercy had that intensity we lacked."
Senior guard Melanie Vogel led the Indians with 13 points but was 5-for-17 from the field and picked up two early fouls that established the tone of a long night for IND.
Besides committing 25 turnovers and hitting five of 18 from the free-throw line, the Indians shot 14 of 69 from the field.
Meanwhile, the Sharpshooters were clicking. They held a 33-26 advantage on the boards, 23-14 in the opening half. Leading by 27-19 at halftime, Mercy increased it to 43-26 after three periods and never looked back.
"The key for us was our defense," said Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion. "Our 3-2 defense packed it in and concentrated on stopping Melanie Vogel on the outside, which we did. But we also had to be conscious of their big girls inside, which we also did."
"We were really into this game," said Rohe. "The first game against them was only our second of the season, and we weren't playing together as an unit. Now, we're playing together and took control."