Top-ranked Western survives opening scare in Mixer

December 11, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

Top-ranked Western was looking to open its season with a victory last night in the Greater Baltimore Women's Basketball Pre-Christmas Mixer at Goucher College.

The Doves (1-0) accomplished that goal, but not before a couple of backfires.

Liberty High of Bethlehem, Pa., gave Western all it could handle, holding a one-point lead with 19 seconds remaining before falling down the stretch, 58-57.

In the nightcap, No. 6 Lake Clifton edged No. 5 St. Mary's, 61-55.

The Hurricanes (0-1), unranked by The Philadelphia Inquirer, used their four-guard, half-court offense to give the Doves fits.

Western's problem was compounded when guard Tesha Tinsley left the game with a twisted right ankle late in the first quarter, essentially taking away the full-court press as an option.

"That was just a very hard ballgame," said coach Breezy Bishop, whose team was ranked 14th nationally in the preseason by Street & Smith's. "They just ran us ragged."

With the Doves leading 44-35 early in the fourth quarter, Liberty mounted a comeback, outscoring Western 16-6 over the next 3:26 to take a 51-50 lead with 3:28 left.

"This is a never-die team," said Liberty coach John Tone, whose team, 23-8 a season ago, took the lead on consecutive three-pointers by Kristie Farkas (18 points) and Jen Wescoe (15).

"I told them that as long as [the Doves] were going to let us play a half-court game, we were going to be OK."

The teams then traded the lead, as Western's Kim Smith (15 points) and Wescoe each nailed three-pointers, giving the Hurricanes a 54-53 lead with 2:28 left.

But it was the last lead they would have.

After Chanel Wright (game-high 23 points) hit two free throws, she helped seal the win with a three-point play with 19 seconds remaining, giving the Doves a 58-54 lead.

"We were just trying to score any way we could," said Wright, who took the ball before half-court, drove to the basket for a layup and was fouled. "My coach just said to take the best shot we could.

Liberty had one last chance, but Libby Lyons missed the back end of a two-shot foul with three seconds left, sealing the one-point win for Western.

Said Tone: "The ball bounced the other way another night and things are different."

After the Doves broke out of the blocks quickly, outscoring Liberty 10-0 to start the game, the Hurricanes took command.

They worked their half-court offense to near-perfection, shooting over Western's zone and outscoring the Doves 24-15 for the rest of the half to cut the lead to 25-24.

Trailing 18-7, the Hurricanes began the second quarter with a 13-0 run, taking a 20-18 lead on a three-pointer by Wescoe with 2:47 left in the half. Liberty held the lead as late as 1:01 before halftime.

In the day's final game, Lake Clifton used a 9-1 early fourth-quarter run to pull away from St. Mary's.

The Saints (1-2) jumped to a 14-3 lead after the first quarter before the Lakers (3-0), led by 6-foot-6 center Natisha Ferguson (19 points), and guards Jinika Conley (17) and Lasine Gross (13), helped their team outscored St. Mary's, 58-41, in the final three quarters.

"The kids stepped up when they had to," said Lakers coach James Monroe. "They showed tonight that they are ready for prime time."

Five-foot-10 forward Annetta Davis led the Saints with 15 points.

It was a big day for Pennsylvania teams in the day's earlier games.

First, George Westinghouse topped No. 15 Mercy, 56-40, then University City routed No. 20 McDonogh, 68-38.

In the opening game, Mercy trailed 28-24 at halftime before Westinghouse outscored the Sharpshooters 16-8 in the third quarter to pull away.

Three players scored in double figures for the Lady Bulldogs, led by 5-foot-4 guard Dana Nelson (19 points). Christina Williamson led Mercy with 18 points.

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