Basics put St. Mary's back on track 'Team ball' puts an end to losing, sinks Spalding

January 17, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

St. Mary's remedy for an unheard-of two-game losing streak )) was a simple dose of fundamentals against Archbishop Spalding yesterday afternoon in Annapolis.

Boxing out for rebounds, taking smart shots, and clamping down on defense all helped in leading the No. 3-ranked Saints to a comfortable 59-43 win over No. 16 Spalding in Catholic League play.

There was one more thing:

"For the first time in a while, we had fun," said senior forward Tiffany Schummer, who scored eight points, grabbed 11 rebounds and played a solid game at both ends. "Some of us have been putting extra pressure on ourselves, but we wanted )) to get away from that. We talked about coming together and getting back to team ball. We did that."

St. Mary's (12-6) had spent most of the season atop the area rankings before a loss to Roland Park on Saturday dropped them to third in this week's poll. On Monday, McDonogh, which took over the No. 1 spot, handed the Saints their second straight loss, the first time in coach Harry Dobson's seven-year tenure that the Saints have lost two straight.

"I haven't slept since Monday. I told the kids I'm too old to be losing sleep," he said jokingly.

Dobson's entire starting five each stepped up at one time or another against Spalding, a young team that appeared overwhelmed early.

First, it was junior guard Terri Daniels (14 points, 12 rebounds) scoring eight first-quarter points while creating for teammates. Schummer was hitting the boards early, diving on the floor for loose balls and playing tight man-to-man defense. The two played big in getting the Saints out to a 24-13 halftime lead.

When the visiting Cavaliers, who earlier in the week rallied from a 16-point third-quarter deficit against No. 7 Mercy to take a lead late before falling by four, tried to make a similar second-half run against the Saints, it was Maria Smear's defense and Emily Lipton's offense that put the game away.

Spalding (13-7) got a short jumper from center Jen Butterwei (12 points) to cut the lead to 34-26 with 2: 10 left in the third quarter.

That's when Smear and Lipton went to work.

Lipton's jumper pushed the Saints' lead back to 10. On the next possession, Smear was on the move, finding Lipton with a nifty behind-the-back pass. Lipton (13 points) was fouled on the drive and hit one of two free throws. Smear then got a steal and found Lipton again for a short jumper for a 39-26 lead.

"I thought we came out a little intimidated in the first quarter. St. Mary's has 'been there, done that,' while we're still getting there," said Spalding coach Deb Taylor. "And then every time we seemed to cut it to eight or 10 [in the third quarter], St. Mary's always responded with a big basket."

At last, Dobson can rest well.

Pub Date: 1/17/98

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