Webb's free throw with :10 left sends IND past Mercy, 42-41 Indians rally from early deficit Girls basketball

January 09, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

Before last night's 27th matchup of Catholic League rivals Mercy and the Institute of Notre Dame, cheerleaders from both schools spent nearly 20 minutes working on the fans on either side of Loyola's sold-out Reitz Arena.

In the end, however, only one side was still hollering.

Kortni Webb's free throw with 10 seconds left gave IND a 42-41 win, capping off one of the most intense and exciting games in series history.

"I was just thinking, 'I've got to make it. We've got to win,' " said Webb, a sophomore who finished with 11 points. "I'm so happy. I can't believe we won."

Early on, an IND win seemed a long shot.

The quicker Sharpshooters (6-5, 3-2) raced to an early 10-point lead, and threatened to blow the Indians (5-6, 2-4) out in the

first half.

But just when it seemed that the Indians were out of it, intense man-to-man defense pulled them right back in.

"My team just battled," said IND coach Jerry Hahn. "They turned up the intensity and played well defensively. They never gave up."

IND's win broke a string of four straight Mercy victories in the series, which the Sharpshooters still lead, 18-9.

"It doesn't matter what the standings say. This is always a good game," Hahn said before the game. "Anyone can win."

Last season, IND beat Mercy twice but lost the game at Loyola College.

Mercy led at the start, when sophomore Meg Kline hit a five-foot shot from in front.

When Stacy Couser scored on a layup seconds later to make it 3-2, it gave IND its only lead until late in the game.

The Sharpshooters took the lead on Meg Kline's layup with 5:00 left in the first quarter, giving Mercy a 4-3 lead.

Mercy then scored nine of the next 11 points to take a commanding 13-5 lead near the end of the quarter.

But the Indians came back, overcoming early-game jitters with tenacious defense. They held the Sharpshooters without a basket on their first nine attempts in the second quarter, and pulled to within 21-16 on Webb's offensive rebound and layup with 1:36 left in the half.

The Indians stayed within five for most of the third quarter, then made a late-quarter surge to threaten Mercy's lead. Webb nearly single-handedly rallied her team from a 31-26 deficit with a short jumper, a 10-footer and a key blocked shot with a 1:20 span.

IND controlled the tempo down the stretch, holding Mercy to 1-for-9 from the field at the end.

Couser than hit one of two foul shots with 56 seconds left to tie the game at 41.

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