St. Frances shuts down Seton Keough, 48-36

February 22, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

After yesterday's game, Seton Keough coach Mike Mohler looked across the gym at St. Frances center Kortni Webb and wondered aloud:

"How tall is she?" he asked. "Six-four? Six-five?"

Actually, Webb is 6-1. She only seemed taller.

Webb blocked a school-record 12 shots, as fourth-ranked St. Frances defeated host and No. 13 Seton Keough, 48-36, in a Catholic League game.

With the victory, the Panthers (20-3, 10-2) clinched the second seed in the Catholic League tournament, which begins Friday.

St. Frances knew when it stepped on the court yesterday that it could not win the Catholic League regular-season title, but it was not about to let second place slip away.

"We needed second place," St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton said. "I want to go into the tournament with a high seed and put ourselves in a position to get to the championship game."

St. Frances, which has beaten the Gators in all three meetings this season, lost an opportunity to win or share the league title on Friday when it dropped a 68-62 decision to St. Mary's, which won its third consecutive Catholic League championship.

Seton Keough (15-7, 9-4), which would have moved ahead of St. Frances into second place with a win, will be the third seed.

Shelton took the Gators out of their offense by alternating between a zone and a man-to man defense.

When Seton Keough tried to take the ball inside, it was stopped by Webb -- who rejected six shots in the first quarter -- and its outside shots would not fall.

"The inside presence, the intimidation factor that Kortni gives us really makes us stronger," Shelton said. "That was one of our biggest weaknesses last year -- our interior defense -- and I think we've solidified it with her in the middle."

Despite her aggressive play inside, Webb was able to remain out of foul trouble.

"Usually, I get a lot of stupid fouls, but today I was playing good defense," said Webb, who scored eight points. "If I foul, I'd be more hesitant in trying to block a shot. I just kept getting more confident."

After trailing by two points after one quarter, the Gators fell apart in the second. They scored just four points on 2-for-21 shooting from the field, as the Panthers seized a 25-13 halftime lead.

St. Frances led by at least nine and as many as 22 in the second half.

"We thought if we kept this game in the 40s or 50s it would be to our advantage. Well, we did that for them, but we just couldn't solve anything offensively," Mohler said.

Mohler attributed some of his team's offensive woes to Sunday's 70-49 loss to third-ranked St. Mary's. The Gators had trailed the Saints by just four points after three quarters.

"That's two tough games in a row," he said. "I think we left a little bit on the floor at St. Mary's."

Junior forward Melba Chambers led the Panthers' balanced offense with 13 points. Junior forward Kristi Webb, Kortni's twin sister, added 12 points and 15 rebounds, and sophomore point guard Jakia Ervin contributed 10 points.

Sophomore point guard Melanie Morris and freshman guard Charity Carbine scored 10 points apiece to lead the Gators.

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