Second-ranked McDonogh's Eagles have one plan this season -- assert themselves early. They have been sticking to that scheme faithfully and running up quick leads on their opponents, including No. 3 Mercy last night.
The Eagles (10-1) wasted no time and overwhelmed Mercy by a resounding 71-52. McDonogh used its press and ripped apart the Magic zone to build a 22-7 lead late in the first quarter.
"We practiced against the press and we thought we were ready," said Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion. "We just didn't make good decisions against the press and when we came back we rushed the offense. I think they capitalized on every turnover we had."
The Magic (10-4), which spent two weeks at No. 1 this season and previously had lost only to teams from out of the Baltimore area, turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter and 12 times in the second.
"We came in intimidated," said Mercy's 5-foot-11 center, Jamie Vogtman (22 points, 14 rebounds). "We didn't come out with confidence. We're a team that needs to come out and play hard. Once we get a lead, we're hard to beat."
So is McDonogh.
The Eagles built as much as a 19-point lead in the second quarter. After that, Mercy never got within 14.
Early on, shooting guard Mary Urban, who finished with 13 points, had the hot hand against the Magic zone with nine first-quarter points, including seven of the Eagles' first nine.
The Eagles' 6-foot center Shani Moore (23 points, 11 rebounds) also came up with nine first-quarter points while doing battle inside with Vogtman, last year's Baltimore City-County Player of the Year.
In the second quarter, Marion switched to man-to-man defense and Eagles point guard Vicki Brick went to work, driving for most of her 12 second-quarter points.
Midway through the second quarter, Brick and Moore hit back-to-back layups to give McDonogh a 32-13 lead.
Although there was a short let-up in intensity in the second half as the Eagles turned the ball over four times in the first three minutes and Mercy began breaking the press, the Magic couldn't cut far enough into the lead.
Kaitie Schuyler hit Vogtman for a 12-footer to cut the lead to 35-14, but Brick drove for a layup and nailed a 20-foot off-balance buzzer beater to push the lead back to 19.
"We just want to be the hardest-working team on the court," said two-time All-Metro choice Brick, who finished with 26 points, seven steals, seven rebounds and three assists.
"We knew Mercy was going to be a tough scrappy team, so we knew we had to come out with more intensity.
"Everybody is stepping up and realizing that we can play with any team in the area."
Pub Date: 1/04/98