'Other' Lipton steps up her game Girls basketball: Emily Lipton, whose point-guard play for St. Mary's as a sophomore sometimes seems born in a higher league, never, ever, tires of the game.

December 15, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Look out, world.

Emily Lipton is on a mission to play basketball at the highest NCAA Division I level, and she believes nothing will stop her.

"I'd love to play at UConn and be like Jennifer Rizzotti was when they won the national championship two years ago," said Lipton, who had a sensational freshman season at St. Mary's last year and should be even better this season.

"She was a 5-6 point guard and made it big, and I'm 5-7 and hope to grow at least a few more inches before college."

Lipton has demonstrated already she can do it all at the high school level but knows she has a lot of long days in the gym ahead of her to perfect her game enough to earn a scholarship to a University of Connecticut or a Tennessee.

"I want to work hard every day so I can improve my court sense, ability to control the offense and distribute the ball, make sure I don't turn the ball over, and provide leadership," said the first-team All-County selection as a freshman.

Lipton lives for those long days, too. There are never enough basketball games, practice sessions, one-on-one duels with Erik her standout quarterback/basketball playing, 6-foot-4 brother), and pickup games to satisfy Lipton's appetite for the game.

On days when she isn't playing or practicing for St. Mary's or her top-notch Amateur Athletic Union Maryland Hurricanes team, Lipton goes to the Bowie-White Marsh gym to play in as many pickup games as she can find.

And most of the players in those pickup contests are older boys, who always try to intimidate her with a physical style of play.

Wrong answer, said Lipton.

"I like to be physical," she said. "The boys soon find that out, and when I play against girls, I'm usually the one who is physical.

"I guess I got that way from playing against Erik [who attends Arundel High and is currently being recruited as a Division I quarterback]. He always tries to post me up and knock me around, and we usually wind up fighting. He always likes to block my shots, so I've learned how to throw the ball around him into the basket. It's helped me a lot."

No wonder Emily Lipton looked as if she had come down from a higher league when she stepped on the court for the first time in the rugged Catholic League for regular-season champion St. Mary's (28-4) last season.

A lot more also has gone into making Emily Lipton into a gifted basketball player who has been invited to the Blue Star Elite 50 Camp (nation's top 50 girl sophomores and juniors) in Terre Haute, Ind., next June.

She had four years of intense AAU basketball competition with the nationally-prominent Hurricanes, finishing fourth nationally as an 11-year-old and ninth nationally as a 12- and 13-year-old.

At 13, Lipton scored 27 points and played super defense to lead the Hurricanes into the final 16 in the AAU Nationals with a victory over the Beltway Lady Cougars from the Washington area.

Lipton has inherited speed and quickness from her father, Chet, and mother, Pam. Chet Lipton played basketball and baseball at the University of Maryland, and Pam was a Junior Olympic swimmer.

As a St. Mary's freshman, Lipton's job was to do a lot of the dirty work and get the ball to senior scoring star Tara Foran. She did just that, averaging a team-high 4.7 assists, along with 2.5 steals and eight points.

The bigger the game the better Lipton seemed to play. She carried a sluggish St. Mary's team at times in two wins over top Catholic League-rival Seton Keough.

Lipton never stops fighting for the basketball.

"She has the guts of a burglar," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson. "She practices the same way she plays, going all out for two hours and then being exhausted. She knows she's going to be counted on to score more for us this season."

In four games for the 4-0 Saints, Lipton is averaging 17 points, 6.2 steals and 4.5 assists.

"I never get burned out from basketball," said Lipton. "It's my favorite sport, and I just want to go out all the time and play on my own to get better. That's the way it is when you really love a sport."

Pub Date: 12/15/96

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