Mercy holds off IND

January 15, 1994|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,Contributing Writer

Before last night's game, Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion told anyone who would listen that records didn't matter in her team's game with rival Institute of Notre Dame. Players from both schools call it "The Game." No matter what the circumstances, tickets are standing room only. Just ask the 2,800 people who filled Loyola College's Reitz Arena last night.

As it turned out, Marion was almost right.

The Sharpshooters (7-6, 3-3) and their 3-2 zone in the third quarter held IND (4-8, 2-3) to three points, and Mercy withstood a late Indians charge for a 52-46 win in a Catholic League Game. Mercy leads the series between the two 18-10.

Christina Williamson and Shannon Cohen paced the Sharpshooters with 13 points apiece.

'We started to move our feet better in the zone in the second half, and that was the difference,' said Marion. 'We played it in the first half but they were penetrating. In the second half, we made them take set shots from the outside. Once we cut off the penetration, we were all right."

After IND's Kim Pryce hit a free throw to tie the score at 21 just after halftime, Mercy's zone and poor shooting caused the Indians to miss their first 12 shots of the second half. On the other end, Cohen, a freshman point guard, dictated the tempo with her , penetration.

"I told my team that the first four possessions of the second half [for each team] would be the key," said Indians coach Frank Moses. "We scored on one and they scored on three."

"We had scouted them and I was told number 12 [Christina Williamson] was the one who made them go," said Moses. "She may be in other games, but not tonight. [Cohen] was the key to that club tonight."

Trailing 36-23 early in the fourth quarter, the Indians scored 13 of the next 17 points to cut the lead to 40-36 with 3:24 left.

The Indians got to within 44-42 with 1:52 left, but could get no closer.

"We let our emotions get away from us a little in the third quarter," said Indians Junior Shannon Skopp, who had a game high 17 points. "We rallied, but we couldn't come all the way back."

The rivalry between the teams began in 1967 as a preliminary event for a Baltimore Bullets game. Since then, it has grown into one of the biggest local basketball games of the season.

"I was scared at first," Cohen said of playing in front of the large crowd, "but after a while I got used to it. We didn't play that well early, but once we calmed down and slowed the tempo, we were all right."

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