Loyola women trim Terps, 57-50 Kirsch proves a catalyst as Greyhounds rise to win

November 20, 1997|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- The history of the Loyola-Maryland women's basketball series is not a pretty one, looked at from the Greyhounds' perspective.

Beginning in 1973, in Frostburg of all places, Maryland has scored victories by sometimes huge margins: 44, 33, 47, 31, 35 and 27 points.

Every so often, however, the worm turns. Last night was one of those times as Loyola came alive to defeat the Terps, 57-50.

Down 38-34 with about nine minutes remaining, Loyola picked up steam. Simultaneously, Maryland's offense looked ready for the last rites.

An 18-4 run over the next 5 1/2 minutes shot Loyola into a 52-42 lead, and the team moved to the triumph with ease in the face of some fine outside shooting by the Terps.

Freshman Shannon Cohen got the Greyhounds into a tie at 38, then it was junior Mary Anne Kirsch who took over.

The visitors had been pounding the ball inside, with only moderate success, when, on three consecutive trips, the ball went inside to Kirsch. She went this way, that way and the other way for baskets and a 44-38 lead.

"I don't know, maybe the adrenalin began to work," she said. "It was getting late, I knew they'd be going to me and "

"That's right," coach Pat Coyle said, "we're going to go to Mary Anne. She knows that and tonight she came through for us."

It wasn't just the spurt after the midpoint of the second half that gave the Greyhounds the win. They had carried out a well-conceived plan from the start, rarely allowing Maryland a chance to get going.

"We knew we couldn't guard them man-for-man," Coyle said, "so we just packed it in [zone] and gave them just one shot."

That it did. After a torturous first five minutes, which saw the teams tied at 2, Loyola shot ahead to a nine-point lead (17-8) after 12 minutes. Maryland got its first lead at 20-19 two minutes before intermission and left the court ahead, 24-21.

"We thought we could win all along, especially if we stuck to the things we know we can do well," Coyle said. "One of the keys is turnovers. If we can limit those, we've got a good chance of winning because we usually get good shots."

Loyola's turnovers totaled 17, about a half-dozen fewer than usual, and the Greyhounds took advantage of the added possessions to bag 14 of 26 shots in the second half, while the Terps were considerably behind that.

TC Once in the lead, another big part of Loyola's game plan came into play, namely putting the ball into the hands of point guard Corey Hewitt, who is familiar with the Cole Field House court, having served as a Maryland ballgirl for years.

"One of the things you want in your point guard, of course, is that she not turn the ball over," Coyle said. "Corey doesn't. And we know she's going to hit her foul shots in the stretch."

Which she did, hitting seven of eight in the last 1: 20.

"We were short on players, but that's no excuse," said Maryland coach Chris Weller, whose team fell to 0-2. "When Loyola made their move, we weren't getting back on defense as quickly as we had been. As a result, we couldn't control them and keep the ball out of the middle."

Pub Date: 11/20/97

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