Liberty has enough to stop Key, 45-38

December 05, 1992|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Liberty used a strong start to make up for a weak finish.

Amy Wolff scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half as visiting Liberty raced to an 18-point halftime lead, but the Lions had to hold off Francis Scott Key for a 45-38 victory in the season opener for both teams last night.

Liberty waltzed through the first half, using Wolff's hot hand and strong defense to keep a lead in double digits much of the time. The Lions stole the ball 10 times and never let Francis Scott Key get into its offense.

"We played an excellent first half," said Liberty coach Tom Delise. "We were playing a little bit over our heads."

The Lions took a 31-13 halftime lead, sparked by Wolff's 14 points, all of which came in the first quarter. Wolff hit seven of 10 from the field and put the Lions in front quickly.

"I was just totally on," said Wolff, who finished with nine rebounds, six steals and two blocks.

And Key's offense was off in the first half. The Eagles, who finished with 31 turnovers, made only three baskets. Francis Scott Key never opened up offensively, going 10:53 without a basket at one point.

"We're notoriously slow starters," said Francis Scott Key coach Brian Hollingsworth. "We spot a team 18 or 20 points, and we run out of time or we run out of gas."

Erin Murphey helped fuel the Eagles' second-half comeback. Murphey, the number two scorer in the County last year, hit only two free throws in the first half. She sat out almost the entire second quarter after picking up her third foul 30 seconds into the quarter.

Murphey scored 15 of her 17 points in the final quarter-and-a-half to spark Key. Wolff had given Liberty its biggest lead at 39-15 with 4:08 left in the third quarter, before Murphey got going.

She hit a three-pointer to start the run. Then, Murphey scored seven of the Eagles' first nine points in the fourth quarter, slicing the lead to 43-34 with 4:01 left after a steal and a layup. Key, however, never got closer than seven.

Liberty was hurt badly in the fourth quarter by foul trouble. Starting forwards Dani Fostik [12 points] and Katie Kelbaugh, along with guard Dawn Wilhelm all fouled out in fourth quarter.

Liberty made only two baskets in the final period, as the Eagles used a tough man-to-man defense to force 11 turnovers. Hollingsworth went to full-court pressure in the fourth quarter, and that caused trouble.

Wolff helped save the game for Liberty in the fourth quarter. She didn't score any points, but ran the offense smoothly, and kept her team settled down.

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