S. Maine ousts Hopkins, 81-72 2nd-half surge topples Jays in regional final

Division III tournament

March 15, 1998|By Jerry Lauzon | Jerry Lauzon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

GORHAM, Maine -- The University of Southern Maine's inside game of Joanna Brown and Tracy Libby proved to be too much for Johns Hopkins in the NCAA Division III Northeast Regional final last night.

Brown scored 22 points and Libby added 20 as the Huskies advanced to the Final Four with an 81-72 win over the Blue Jays at Warren Hill Gym.

Brown, who sat out most of the first half with foul trouble, scored 20 in the second half. Libby had 16 first-half points and finished with six blocked shots.

"We worked at denying Libby the ball," said Johns Hopkins coach Nancy Blank. "She's a lefty, and you definitely have to change the way you play defense."

Libby carried the Huskies (28-2), and without Brown, USM led 32-31 at the break.

And the Huskies went right to work inside in the second half. The lead stretched to eight points until Angie Arnold (27 points) scored eight in less than a minute. When Leslie Ritter dropped in a three-pointer at 10: 13, the Blue Jays were back in front 53-52.

Arnold, who was named to the all-tournament team with teammate Julie Anderson (16 points), kept Johns Hopkins in the game with 21 second-half points.

"She really is and has been the rock our our team," said Blank. "If I was in a foxhole, this is who I'd have covering my back. There's no finer player, and I've been coaching for 21 years."

But Brown came back with two quick baskets, and the Huskies never trailed again. When Arnold went down with an ankle injury at 4: 53, the Blue Jays were down 66-62.

Arnold's jumper closed it to within 66-64 with 3: 59 to go, but that was as close as Johns Hopkins would get. Brown made two baskets on consecutive possessions and Susan Ware scored on an inbounds play to give the Huskies a cushion.

"We wanted to go further than last year, when we finished in the final eight," said Blank. "But we had a 21-game win streak at home, and the seniors have shattered every record in the book. It's been a great year."

Arnold made 10 of 18 shots, including three of seven from three-point range. She had five assists in 38 minutes. Anderson, one night after scoring 31 points with 21 rebounds, was 7-for-14 with eight rebounds. Marjahna Segers finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Neither team had much of an advantage in the first half. Anderson's basket with 3: 18 to play in the half put the Blue Jays in front 26-24, and when she scored at 1: 50, the lead was 31-26.

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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