Morgan doesn't get 2nd chance

Gardner's 25 boards help Howard women avenge earlier loss to Bears, 73-63

February 29, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

When the Morgan State women's basketball team is making its shots and keeping opponents off the boards, it's possible to mask the symptoms -- exempting Monique Liddell -- of a weak frontcourt.

When the Bears aren't -- as they showed in taking a 73-63 defeat against Howard last night -- they can't run, and they look defenseless against assaults like the one Andrea Gardner made on the glass, grabbing 25 of her team's 56 rebounds (to Morgan's 35).

"We'd rather push the ball so they don't have the opportunity to be physical with us," said Morgan State guard Shakira Smith, who led her team with 18 points. "Shots just weren't falling."

So Gardner, the sophomore center from Washington, served as the difference between yesterday's result and the one Feb. 7, when Morgan State (15-11, 11-6 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) beat the MEAC champion Bison (18-9, 16-2).

In the earlier game, she was a non-factor. The rematch featured her making each Bears offensive trip a frugal one -- one shot and out -- and prolonging her own team's possessions to where it seemed like Howard was entitled to at least two shots.

Put another way, Gardner made Howard's 41 percent shooting look good.

"Twenty-five rebounds? I would call that controlling the game," Howard coach Sanya Tyler said.

After the game, Gardner dispensed the platitudes about her team playing together better than it had in the first matchup. And yes, Regan Carter led all scorers with 21 points, and the rest of the team did chip in another 21 rebounds, including half of the 22 on the offensive end.

But regarding the gaudy numbers that accompanied the 16 points, one assist and two steals, Gardner said: "I guess that would help us a lot."

Morgan did its share as well. Smaller than the Bison to begin with, the Bears exacerbated their disadvantage with a lethargic start, giving up runs of 11-0 and 10-0 to fall behind 27-18 after a Gardner layup with 5: 35 left in the first half.

Somehow, mainly with Angela Creek's scoring 10 of her 16 points in the first half, Morgan State stayed in the game and trailed 33-30 at the break.

As late as the 11: 57 mark, the score was tied at 48. Then Howard went on a 23-7 run, holding the Bears without a field goal for more than nine minutes to take a 71-55 lead with 3: 00 left. While Morgan State forced 29 Howard turnovers -- three more than in the earlier win -- it couldn't hit more than eight of 38 field goals in the second half.

"Last time, we controlled the tempo; we hit shots, so that kept us going," Morgan coach Gerard Garlic said, referring to the 45 percent shooting of the earlier meeting. "[Gardner] wouldn't have 25 rebounds because the rebounds wouldn't be there."

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