Keiner lifts Towson women past young Loyola, 69-67 With top scorer sidelined, other Tigers step up

November 29, 1995|By Drake Witham | Drake Witham,CONTRIBUTING WRITER ZTC

With their best player sidelined with a foot injury and coming off a thrashing by No. 24 North Carolina, it looked to be an off-night for the Towson State Tigers. Things didn't look any better when they trailed Loyola by 11 points with six minutes to play.

But none of that mattered because forward Sonia Keiner was on. The 5-foot-8 sophomore scored a career-high 20 points to lead the Tigers to a 69-67 win last night at Loyola's Reitz Arena.

"My shot didn't feel like it was falling, I didn't think I was shooting that well," Keiner said. "I can't imagine a night when I'm on."

Though she hit just six of 17 attempts, Keiner made five of six free throws and three key shots in the second half. She got help from point guard LaTonya Joyner, who scored 15 points, and 5-10 forward Tanya Belair, who had 10. She needed the help with junior Trinette Tucker and her 19-point average from last season on the bench with a foot injury.

"I felt confident coming off the North Carolina game," Joyner said of Saturday's 72-45 loss. "I knew I was playing against freshmen, so I wanted to control the game."

Loyola started four freshmen who weren't so willing to give up control. Led by the outside shooting of Jennifer Bongard and Jina Mosley, the four accounted for 40 of Loyola's 42 first-half points. Bongard finished with a game-high 24, and Mosley had 14. With fellow freshmen Corey Hewitt and Mary Ann Kirsch combining for 15 points, the freshmen scored all but 14 of Loyola's points.

They dominated the Tigers (1-1) for most of the first half and would have gone into the locker room with an 11-point edge had Towson State not scored four points in the final second of the first half. Joyner was fouled on a drive and converted both shots, and when the Greyhounds (0-1) could not get the ball inbounds, the Tigers had another shot. Freshman Silesia Stevens hit a 15-footer from the wing as time expired.

"That was a great boost," said Tigers coach Ellen Fitzkee. "We kept in there when the shots weren't falling."

After the Tigers shaved the lead to 42-40 in the second half, their shots stopped falling. Junior forward Lynn Albert, who played just 19 minutes because of foul trouble, and Bongard helped the Greyhounds build an 11-point lead with 6:17 remaining.

But the Greyhounds showed their inexperience in the final minutes committing turnovers and missing their final four free throws. After consecutive scores by Joyner and Keiner gave the Tigers a four-point lead, the Greyhounds collapsed.

They made two of their 26 turnovers in the final minute, and Mosley missed the front end of a one-and-one with nine seconds to play.

"We have a tendency to sag back after we have a lead," Mosley said.

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