No. 10 Mercy stopped cold by St. Mary's No. 3 Saints find scoring touch in 67-46 rout of Magic

January 24, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

An amazing thing happened to the unbeaten St. Mary's team during an 18-day layoff due to all the bad weather recently.

The third-ranked Saints became a better shooting team and now they can take the entire package on the court with them every game in the Catholic League.

Tenth-ranked Mercy was the first to face the hot-shooting St. Mary's squad yesterday after the layoff and got blitzed, 67-46, in a Catholic League game that was virtually over midway in the second quarter when the Saints built a 31-10 lead.

St. Mary's shot 55 percent from the field in the first half to build a 40-14 lead and finished the game with a 46 percent shooting effort.

During a 13-0 start before the 18-day break, the only thing that kept St. Mary's from being a complete team was its difficulty at finding the basket.

But that changed yesterday and turned this showdown of Top 10 teams into a rout and a nightmare for Mercy (13-5, 3-3 in the league), which came to Annapolis with a nine-game winning streak.

"We couldn't run our offense against their aggressive defense," said Magic coach Mary Ella Marion. "We were getting only one shot, we started off in a hole and couldn't dig ourselves out and overall this was our poorest performance of the year."

A lot of coaches have felt the same frustration as Marion after trying unsuccessfully to end the St. Mary's unbeaten string.

The Saints, 14-0 and 4-0 in the league and headed for a Feb. 4 showdown with top-ranked Seton Keough, have so many weapons and the list keeps growing.

Senior Tara Foran had another outstanding game yesterday with 21 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and two assists.

But freshman guard Maria Smear has improved so much since the start of the season that it has to be scary for Catholic League foes.

Smear came off the bench and scored nine points in the second quarter and finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one steal.

Smear did almost everything right, showing a soft shooting touch in the lane, driving to the basket and dishing the ball off to open teammates, running the offense at times with all the poise of a senior and playing exceptional defense.

She even displayed an ability to hit free throws with her jump-shooting style from the line. Smear was seven of nine from the free-throw line.

Two other freshmen for St. Mary's, Emily Lipton and Terri Daniels, also had outstanding games. Lipton had eight points, seven assists and four steals and Daniels had eight points, six rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists.

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