St. Frances upends St. Mary's

March 01, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton had seen enough of St. Mary's guard Kristin Miller.

In his team's previous two meetings against the Saints this season, Miller was the key to both St. Mary's victories.

This time Shelton used a box-and-one on Miller and held her scoreless, as the fourth-ranked Pan- thers defeated No. 3 St. Mary's, 61-47, in the Catholic League Tournament championship game at the College of Notre Dame last night.

"Anybody else but Miller," Shelton said. "I don't think I could really live with myself if she came in here and had a good game. Sherry Dawkins did a real good job defensively on her."

Miller had hit a crucial three-pointer against St. Frances in the teams' first meeting, then she scored 15 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead St. Mary's over the Panthers again last month.

Last night, Miller, who had been averaging nearly 15 points per game, was 0-for-5 from the field.

The box-and-one often left guard Erin Hon open, but she was 1-for-11 from the field, including 0-for-5 from three-point range. Senior point guard Bridget Smith (11 ppg) also was held scoreless.

The win gave the Panthers (23-3) their first Catholic League tournament title in their fourth season in the league.

After going 10-37 the first two seasons, St. Frances has won 42 of 53.

It was also the Panthers' first victory over St. Mary's (25-3), which had gone undefeated in the league to capture its third consecutive regular-season championship.

The loss ended the Saints' 24-game winning streak, which was the area's longest.

Junior forward/guard Melba Chambers, who was named the Catholic League Player of the Year, scored 20 points to lead St. Frances.

Chambers almost single-handedly put the game out of reach for St. Mary's by scoring 10 points in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter.

She hit two three-pointers in the opening minute of the period to give the Panthers a 50-38 lead. St. Frances, which never trailed, led by at least 10 points the rest of the way.

"I think we wanted it more than they did," Chambers said. "I think because they beat us the first two times they thought they were going to beat us again."

Junior forward/guard Kristi Webb (14 points), sophomore point guard Jakia Ervin (13 points) and junior center Kortni Webb (12 points) also scored in double figures for the Panthers.

Only three players scored for St. Mary's: Tara Foran (23 points), Annetta Davis (22) and Hon (2).

Despite the loss, St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson was pleased with his team's season.

"I felt all year that this was our best team," Dobson said. "We beat a great team two times. I'm sure they were more up for this one."

St. Frances seized the lead from the opening tipoff, outhustling the Saints to loose balls and beating them down the court.

The Panthers scored the first six points of the game en route to an 18-12 lead after the first quarter.

St. Frances twice pushed its lead to 11 in the second quarter, before settling for a 32-24 halftime advantage.

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