French leads UMBC women by Towson State, 55-52

February 02, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writer

Nothing beats anger and incentive as motivational tools, and UMBC women's basketball coach Kathy Solano used both on center Eunice French for a welcome payoff last night at the UMBC Fieldhouse.

French, whose 14 points and seven rebounds helped pace the Retrievers to a 55-52 Big South Conference win over Towson State, was given the order to keep the Tigers' Danielle Barry in check.

She did what she was asked, holding Barry, the Big South's sixth leading scorer and rebounder, to 10 points. It tied a season low for the Tigers' do-it-all forward.

"She [Solano] told me that if I didn't box out, I wouldn't play and I wanted to play, especially against them," said French.

After trailing at halftime 33-27, the Retrievers (7-9, 6-3) turned up the defensive intensity in the second half, holding the Tigers (8-8, 4-5) scoreless for one seven-minute stretch and allowing only 19 points overall in the second half.

In addition, Towson's Megan Gebbia, who had 16 first-half points, including four three-pointers, had just three in the second half, on a bonus shot with 1:47 left in the game.

"Our pressure was bothering them a little bit in the first half," said Solano. "I just wanted to pick up that pressure and it helped that we started to make better decisions on offense."

As a result, UMBC, which moved into a third-place tie in the league with Coastal Carolina, ran its home record to 5-0.

The Retrievers also got their first win over the Tigers in five games.

"I have a lot of intensity for this team. We went 0-3 against them last year and I was waiting all summer for this game," said French.

UMBC's Missy Quille had 16 points, and Mandy Woolstenhulme had 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Retrievers did a good job of keeping Barry under wraps in the first half, allowing her just four points.

However, Barry turned her efforts to the boards, where she pulled down four offensive rebounds in the half to help the Tigers to a decisive 11-5 edge in that category.

Though the two teams started out blazing, each hitting their first three shots, the Tigers shifted to a matchup zone that trapped UMBC on the wings and kept the Retrievers from getting good shots inside.

"Our physical effort was fine, but our mental effort, especially in the last two minutes of the first half, really broke down," said Towson State coach Ellen Fitzkee.

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