Mercy floors St. Mary's, 82-78 Magic shoots 60 percent in scoring semifinal upset

S. Keough also advances

Catholic League girls

March 01, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

There will be no Catholic League sweep for St. Mary's.

Going into last night's tournament semifinal, the No. 3 Saints has not lost to a league opponent all season. Mercy changed all that with superb defense and 60 percent shooting from the field.

The No. 11 Magic ran up as much as a 19-point lead and held on to edge the defending champion Saints, 82-78, last night at Spalding.

The Magic will play No. 14 Seton Keough for the title this afternoon at 3 p.m. at Spalding. The Gators defeated No. 8 John Carroll, 49-44, in last night's other semifinal.

But the Magic (22-9) played the game of the night, making the Saints (25-8) play catch-up right from the start. Mercy's defense kept the Saints from finding any offensive rhythm early and its offense rolled up a 12-2 lead by late in the first quarter.

Jamie Vogtman led the Magic with 26 points, including three three-pointers, but sophomore guards Abby Pyzik and Kaitie Schuyler also had tremendous nights. Pyzik scored a career-high 20 points on her 16th birthday and Schuyler added 15.

"The team aspect we've been stressing and talking about all year," said Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion, "and it finally came to fruition. We seemed to counter everything St. Mary's did. Everybody just stepped up so much. It was a total team effort."

The Magic showed its teamwork right away, moving the ball well on offense and hitting five of its first seven shots. Mercy seemingly couldn't miss from the outside hitting four three-pointers in the first quarter.

Pyzik banked in a 20-footer and added a short jumper to give the Magic a 12-2 lead four minutes into the game.

Vogtman extended the lead two minutes later with back-to-back three-pointers and then fed Schuyler for another. That gave the Magic a 21-7 lead with 1: 20 left in the quarter.

"Our defense was terrible in the first half," said Saints point guard Emily Lipton. "We let them score five threes in the first half. They're a spot-shooting team. If you give them the spots they'll make the shots."

In the final seconds of the quarter, the Saints finally settled and began to work the ball more, cutting the lead slowly down. They got within 39-35 on Amy Mulligan's layup. Then Cassie Hall's turnaround bank shot put Mercy up 41-35 at halftime.

After the break, the Magic ran it up again, taking its biggest lead of the game, 70-51, on Kristy Lutz' short jumper less than a minute into the fourth quarter.

The Saints finally rallied, cutting the 19-point lead to four by hitting 12 of 22 fourth-quarter free throws. Terri Daniels hit a three and Maria Smear added one and a layup in a six-point run to pull within, 77-73.

Mercy, however, stayed ahead by hitting its free throws. Vogtman and Schuyler hit two each to counter baskets by Toby McIntyre and Felicia Holloway. Pyzik put it out of reach when she got the roll on the second half of the double bonus with four seconds to go.

It didn't help the Saints to be without Lipton down the stretch. Last year's All-Metro Player of the Year fouled out with 3: 26 left in the game. She finished with 18 points while Smear had 19 and Daniels, 17.

In today's championship game, the Magic will meet another young team on the rise. Seton Keough also used a total team effort to hold off the Patriots, a team Mercy had lost to twice this season.

The Gators (17-10), led by 21 points from Denise King, played terrific man-to-man defense, shot well from the outside and slowed the game down.

"We played at our tempo and we haven't been able to do that a lot this year," said Gators coach Jim Stromberg. "The pace of the game may have put them to sleep a little."

Still the Patriots (18-8) weren't far off. They never trailed by more than eight and took a 39-37 lead on Darby Burke's driving layup with 5: 41 left in the game.

After the Gators jumped back ahead, the Patriots tied it at 43 on Kristen Jasper's short follow with 1: 18 to go.

The Gators went back outside, where they had scored most of their points, including six three-pointers. King found Meghann Allan open on the baseline for an 18-footer for a 45-43 lead with 1: 01 left.

Nikki Brown and Sarah Walsh each hit two free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal it.

The Gators' defense held Patriots 5-foot-11 center Jenn Westervelt to just four points and forced her to take many of her shots from the outside.

"We were just flat," said Patriots coach Kathleen Shannon. "We had an opportunity to win the game, but we could never get into gear. We are better when we can run the floor and we tried to, but Seton Keough controlled the tempo and that was the difference."

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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