Southern thwarts Arundel, 52-44

December 09, 1992|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

For Southern's girls basketball team, yesterday's game was a matter of survival.

The 18th-ranked Bulldogs had to survive mistakes and dodge a couple of gritty comebacks from No. 14 Arundel before prevailing, 52-44.

They appeared safely ahead, 44-32, with less than five minutes left, when Arundel went on a 10-0 run to pull within two points. They had seen a 24-13 halftime lead dwindle to four points twice in the third quarter.

"That's why I have this gray hair, I guess," said Bulldogs coach Linda Kilpatrick. "We just didn't play real smart. They've got to adjust to changes, and they didn't quickly enough."

The most troublesome changes were when Arundel went to a full-court, man-to-man press in the second half, and its senior guard, Alina Smith, went on a scoring binge.

Smith had two points by halftime, but she departed with 17 after fouling out with 1:41 remaining and Southern leading 44-42. Most of her points came from the outside, with at least one defender in her face.

"We were hanging all over her, and she couldn't miss," said Kilpatrick, whose team committed 34 turnovers. "Some of those she threw in, they easily could have called a foul on us. We were keying on her, but she got hot."

Southern (1-0) had an offensive machine in 5-foot-11 junior center Laekeka Wesley, who led all scorers with 27 points. She also had 19 rebounds, nine steals and two assists.

"I told her to play real aggressive at half-court, and she did a good job of keying on people, instead of just playing an area," Kilpatrick said. "Offensively, she has a good touch and can shoot over people. And she's quick. If you come up on her, she can go around."

Sarah Melby and Virginia Gonski had 10 points each for the Wildcats (1-1).

Southern's 3-1-1 press forced the Wildcats into a slew of turnovers -- they had 32 by game's end -- that resulted in plenty of transition baskets. The Bulldogs also went to the line 35 times, compared with 13 for Arundel. Southern made 16 free throws; the Wildcats converted four.

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