No. 10 Mercy rolls past No. 13 St. Frances, 54-34

January 06, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

At times, the No. 10 Mercy Sharpshooters looked as good a any girls basketball team in the metro area yesterday against No. 13 St. Frances.

And at other times, they played too poorly to look at.

In the end, it added up to a 54-34 Catholic League win over the visiting Panthers. But to say the Sharpshooters rode a roller coaster of inconsistency would be an understatement.

They dominated play in the first and third quarters, outscoring St. Frances, 41-10, then looked almost inept in the second and fourth. It was a performance that would have made any coach dizzy.

"The first and third quarters were the best we've played all season," said Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion, "but I think we have a tendency to let down. We became very lackadaisical."

The numbers bear her out.

The Sharpshooters were just that in the first and third quarters, hitting 18 of 22 shots -- nearly 83 percent. In the other two, they hit six of 23 shots (23 percent) and committed 21 turnovers.

But with St. Frances shooting 25 percent for the game, including one of 19 at one point in the second half, Mercy never was threatened.

"When we took our time and swung the ball, the middle was open," said Sharpshooters center Gayle Belz, who scored a team-high 16 points. "Then we started rushing it and we got in trouble."

The most consistent part of Mercy's game was its defense. After starting the game in a zone press, the Sharpshooters broke out to a 12-2 lead while the Panthers missed six of their first seven shots.

Mercy then slowed the pace to prevent the Panthers from running, a style they used to win six of their first seven games.

Melba Chambers and Kristi Webb, their two top scorers who entered the game averaging nearly 32 points, scored nine.

The lone bright spot for St. Frances was guard Jakia Ervin, who was the only Panther in double figures with 16 points.

"We were very flat today," said St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton. "We didn't play hard, and we got embarrassed because of it. This is a young team, and they play when they want to play."

The win puts Mercy (6-4, 3-1) ahead of St. Frances (7-4, 2-2) in the Catholic League standings.

It also gives the Sharpshooters some confidence after losing in routs to top-ranked Western and No. 5 St. Mary's last week.

Said Belz: "This was easier than I thought. I was expecting them to be a lot stronger. It's a good win."

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