Loyola women drop UM a notch Terps' inexperience hurts in 50-43 defeat

November 18, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

That the Loyola women's basketball team scored a 50-43 victory over a once-mighty Maryland squad last night at Reitz Arena should come as no surprise.

The Greyhounds entered their season opener with all five starters returning from a team that beat the Terps at Cole Field House last season, and they faced a Maryland team that played newcomers 87 out of 100 team minutes in the second half.

Yet, if only for a few moments, the Greyhounds held a jubilant congregation at midcourt after their third win in the past six meetings with the Terps.

Whereas last season's game could have been dismissed as a fluke, or even an embarrassment for Maryland, last night's win established Loyola -- at least for now -- as a legitimate rival to the state's dominant program.

"I think it's a rivalry," Loyola coach Pat Coyle said after the win. "I'm glad that we can make the game more competitive now. It makes us legit. If it doesn't work out where a kid can go to Maryland, we're another option."

Forward Jina Mosley and guard Corey Hewitt led the Greyhounds with 11 and 10 points, respectively, and Loyola got a boost from Shannon Cohen, who had five second-half steals and seven overall.

With less than a minute to go in the game and Maryland down 46-43, Cohen stole the ball from freshman Rosita Melbourne. This play set up a Mary Anne Kirsch layup that became a three-point play with 27.4 seconds remaining, giving the Greyhounds a 49-43 lead.

"They weren't just steals," Hewitt said of Cohen's contributions, "They were huge steals. She got the possessions back for us that we needed badly and she did an awesome job of turning the game around."

Maryland (0-2), coming off a 63-45 home loss to UNC-Greensboro in which it allowed 53 percent shooting, was greatly improved against a team projected to finish second in the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The Terps had problems stopping Mosley in the early moments, allowing her to score nine quick points, and Loyola took a 14-6 lead on the senior's jumper with 14: 19 left in the first half.

But Maryland, which held the Greyhounds to 31 percent shooting for the game, went on a 19-9 run, taking the lead at one point, and forged a 27-27 halftime tie.

The second half was close throughout, with neither team enjoying a lead larger than five points most of the way. Hewitt hit an NBA-range three-pointer to make the score 36-31 with 11: 50 left.

But the Greyhounds were not nearly as crisp in those early minutes as they were in the first half, went about three minutes without a point, and watched the Terps take a 38-36 lead on Melbourne's basket at the 11: 38 mark. Maryland, however, would yield a 14-5 run from that point, assuring its loss.

The Terps committed 21 turnovers, but the game was a positive in several respects, as they played a team within single digits for the first time in four games, including exhibitions.

"I was very pleased with our progress," said coach Chris Weller, whose team was led by freshman Marche Strickland's 11 points. just young, and there's not a lot we can do about that."

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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