No. 4-ranked St. Mary's wasn't expecting a wake-up call, but got a loud one yesterday, losing, 62-52, to visiting Institute of Notre Dame.
The Saints (14-3, 8-1) never led and trailed the 12th-ranked Indians by as many as 17 points before suffering their first Baltimore Catholic League defeat.
"I just think we were a little more ready for them today, that's all," said IND coach Jerry Hahn. "St. Mary's had a tough game last week against Mercy and came out of that with a win [57-55], and I said, 'I think they're going to be looking past us a little bit.'
"I wanted Mercy to beat them, but I thought, 'If Mercy beats them, uh-oh.' "
IND (9-4, 5-2), which lost to St. Mary's on Dec. 17, 62-39, dominated at both ends of the court yesterday and led after the first quarter, 17-10. Senior point guard Melanie Vogel paced the Indians in the opening period, scoring five of her game-high 22 points.
"We've been playing tough all week, and we've really come together as a team lately," said Vogel, who also had nine rebounds and five assists. "Everything came together today. Everybody was hitting shots. People were hitting their foul shots, getting the easy layups and making their picks."
Both teams were cold in the second quarter, but IND warmed up in time to take a 32-18 lead at the half. St. Mary's struggles included a 3-for-16 performance from the field and 12 straight misses.
St. Mary's got a break early in the third quarter when IND's 6-foot-1 center, Kortni Webb (nine points) went to the bench with her fourth personal foul. But the Saints failed to capitalize on Webb's absence, and IND converted six of 13 field goals to push the lead to 13.
The Saints, getting three baskets from Amelia Mikula (16 points), Jen Segree and Kristine Manning, cut the lead to five with 5 minutes, 34 seconds left, but Vogel, Webb and Lisa Krastel quickly responded with baskets.
"The kids hung tough and kept working and working," said Hahn. "St. Mary's has an excellent team. They have great players and a great bench, and I just wouldn't want to be the team that plays them next."