No. 5 St. Mary's pulls rank on No. 14 Seton Keough

January 08, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

The most dramatic moment in last night's Catholic League showdown between No. 5 St. Mary's and No. 14 Seton Keough occurred early in the third quarter.

Two minutes, 11 seconds into the second half, Saints guard Bridget Smith hit a breakaway layup for her 1,000th career point, and play was halted for a brief ceremony.

It was the only reprieve the Gators would get.

Annetta Davis scored a game-high 25 points, and Tara Foran added 20 to lift St. Mary's to an impressive 67-50 win over host Seton Keough.

The win, coupled with No. 4 St. Frances' victory over Mercy yesterday, sets up Monday's matchup at St. Mary's, where the league's top two teams will battle it out for sole possession of first place.

To get there, though, the Saints (11-2 overall, 3-0 in the league) had to survive a pesky Gators team that kept it close until midway through the second quarter, when a 12-0 run by the Saints broke the game open.

"I expected a tough game, and that's exactly what I got," said Saints coach Harry Dobson. "We rebounded really well. I thought that was a key."

Led by Davis, who had 18 rebounds, St. Mary's controlled the boards and got multiple scoring opportunities on most possessions.

But for the 6-foot forward, who entered the game averaging more than 21 points and 16 rebounds a game, this performance had extra significance.

"I wanted to win this so bad," said Davis, who also had five steals. "I think it sends a message to the rest of the league that we're ready for anybody."

And, for most of the night, the Saints played like it.

Trailing 13-12 late in the first quarter, they took the lead on a 10-footer by Foran -- who scored 10 in the first quarter -- and never looked back.

The Saints used good defense and accurate shooting to extend the lead to 17-13 at the end of the quarter, and led 31-16 with two minutes to play in the half.

The Gators (7-5, 3-2), who were led by Meghann Donovan (20 points) pulled within 49-43 early in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get any closer.

But the other big story was Smith's milestone basket. It came off a long outlet from Davis with 5:49 left in the third quarter and extended St, Mary's' lead to 13.

It also put an exclamation point on a stellar four-year career.

"It felt great," said Smith, who became the fourth player in school history to accomplish the feat. "I've been working toward that since my freshman year."

After collecting her first four points on foul shots, she said she was happy she scored No. 1,000 on a layup.

"That was a great way to do it," she said.

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