NEW MARKET -- The Westminster Owls were supposed to be on a short list of teams that would be able to stay close with the Linganore Lancers in the Central Maryland Conference this season.
They did last night -- for a half.
The defending Class 2A state champ Lancers came out of the halftime break with eight straight points to distance themselves from the No. 14 Owls, pulling away for a 81-58 win.
It was the 35th straight win for Linganore, the state's second-ranked team that went 25-0 last season and is off to a 10-0 start this season.
Many teams would be devastated after losing their entire front-court to graduation. But Linganore has its back-court returning -- seniors Cara Consuegra and Mimi Ritter.
Consuegra, who has signed to play at nationally ranked Iowa next season, had her usual outstanding all-around game that included 29 points.
Ritter, headed for Georgetown, played a big role defensively, moving down low at the start of the third quarter to contain Westminster standout forward Jill Ibex, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half. The Lancers went with four guards to start the third quarter and were able to run by the Owls.
Leading 31-27 at the half, the Lancers scored on four of their first five possessions of the third quarter to build a 39-27 lead. After the Owls (7-3) pulled within 42-35 on Ibex's jumper, the Lancers went on another big run late in the third and to start the fourth to put the game away.
"They're very good," said Westminster coach Bernie Koontz. "Our kids gave an outstanding effort. In the second half, they picked things up defensively. They made a run [in the third quarter], and we responded. They've just got a lot of runs in them, and against a great team, it's hard to keep plugging away."
All the Lancers runs seemed to center around Consuegra, who did a little of everything.
She caused turnovers, created for her teammates and did her share of rebounding.
The Owls kept it close in the first half with some strong guard play defensively from seniors Kim Frame, Lauren Henry and Courtney Wunderlich. All three did a good job of handling the ball against Linganore's pressure, and they were able to get the ball inside to Ibex, who shot the ball well in the first half despite two early fouls.
When the Lancers went to four guards to start the third and didn't have any problems rebounding, their pressure was too much for the Owls.
"They're a really good team. They ran on us, and we lost our composure a little. To play 16 minutes with them and be down [four] is something we can be proud of. We didn't quit," said Frame.
Pub Date: 1/11/97