Relentless St. Mary's shuts down, races by short-handed Gators Missing three regulars Seton Keough bows, 66-20


December 18, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson promised last week that his Saints would be ready when the Catholic League opened this week.

Ready wasn't the word to properly describe St. Mary's fTC convincing 66-20 win over short-handed Seton Keough yesterday afternoon in Annapolis.

The No. 3-ranked Saints (5-2) had it all working from the start, jumping to a 20-2 lead by the second quarter's midway point behind a relentless defense that set the tone for a balanced offense.

"Unbelievable," said Dobson. "The defense keyed it all, and that's all we worked on the last three practices. We have some scorers and great athletes and know we'll get our points -- as long as we can keep the other team from scoring."

The No. 9 Gators (2-2) were without regulars Nikki Brown, Denise King and Nessa Klein, none of whom has played so far because of injuries. But Seton Keough coach Jim Stromberg said that even having that trio yesterday "wouldn't have made any difference."

Seton Keough couldn't find an answer to St. Mary's pressing ways on defense. The Gators missed their first four shots and turned the ball over six other times before getting their first basket, Meghann Allan's layup with 3: 32 left in the first quarter.

The Saints already had reeled off the game's first 10 points and went on to score the next 10 to have things well under control early in the second quarter.

The Saints' primary harasseron defense was junior guard Maria Smear, who contained Seton Keough senior point guard Amanda Foster while scoring 10 points.

"To hold [Seton Keough] to 20 points is pretty incredible," Smear said. "Defense was the huge difference. We frustrated them with some really tough defense, and it helped get our transition game going. That's what we like to do."

The Saints' half-court offense was equally effective at times, starting with junior guard Emily Lipton's backdoor basket off a nifty pass from Terri Daniels on the game's first possession.

Midway through the third quarter, with the Saints leading 37-14, Lipton dived to the floor to grab a loose ball in the corner and found Smear inside, who made the extra interior pass to Jodi Davidson for an easy lay-in.

When reserve guard Colleen Devin scored with 25 seconds left, all 12 Saints had found their ways into the scoring column.

"Keough's a very good team, but they were without three key players, and that made a big difference," said Dobson.

"We had to get off to a good start. It was our first league game, the first step with 13 games left. We cut down on our turnovers, and our defense picked up -- those were the two big things."

Lipton's 12 points led the way for the Saints, who also got eight points each from Daniels and Tiffany Schummer.

Pub Date: 12/18/97

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