Deep Jays rise to 11-1 in women's basketball

Loyola trip a nightmare

Towson gymnasts to open

State notebook


January 10, 2002|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Johns Hopkins' talented women's basketball team, 11-1 this season, was about to wrap up another easy victory a few nights ago when one of the officials on the floor couldn't help but ask coach Nancy Blank a question.

"How do you keep everybody on this team happy?" inquired the official while looking down the bench at the 11 gifted reserves.

Blank replied quickly and surely, "That's not my job."

Blank said her job is to coach and get the most out of every player on the team.

The veteran of 16 seasons at Hopkins (264-126 record) just might have an NCAA Division III final-four team on North Charles Street this winter.

"I'm not making any predictions," said Blank, who had final-eight teams in 1997 and 1998.

But this version of Hopkins women's basketball is starting to look like something special.

On Tuesday night, the Blue Jays went to Chestertown and dismantled Washington College, 81-56. Last Friday, the Jays smashed Haverford, 81-28.

The team's top player, 6-foot-2 junior center Kathy Darling, has averaged only 24 minutes a game because of the lopsided wins. Darling leads the team in scoring (14.2 points), rebounds (8.0) and subtle intimidation.

When the transfer from Rowan (N.J.) University takes the court for warm-ups, she is quite an imposing figure with all her talent and size.

"People come up and tell me I'm lucky to get a Darling to transfer," said Blank. "But she didn't just land in my lap. She almost came here out of high school in Delaware, but Rowan offered her some money for engineering."

Then Rowan had a coaching change, and some classroom things didn't work out.

"It's only natural that she would look back at Hopkins," said Blank, who routinely goes 10 deep on her bench and has used all 16 players five times.

An example of how much talent Blank has is the freshmen who could be impact players at other schools but do not start at Hopkins. They include guard Ashley Felix, whose 33 steals lead the team; 6-foot center Kelly Rumsey, who averages 5.0 rebounds, and 5-10 freshman forward Ashanna Randall.

Trip to forget

In a Loyola men's basketball season long since gone wrong, the Greyhounds traveled more than 6,000 miles to and from the West Coast last week and faced major flight delays in addition to losing to Santa Clara, 68-50, Friday night.

Loyola ran into 7 1/2 hours of weather delays Thursday morning at Baltimore-Washington International Airport before leaving for San Francisco at 2:30 p.m., which cancelled Thursday's practice.

The players were allowed to spend all day in the San Francisco area Saturday before heading home Sunday. But mechanical problems forced the team to fly through Boston to Philadelphia, where the Greyhounds arrived too late to catch a BWI flight. After a night in Philly, they flew home Monday morning.

Bright Towson future

Two first-team East Atlantic Gymastics League performers, Towson juniors Jenn Baierlein and Kristen Presutti, will be on display at the Towson Center tomorrow night when the Tigers open their season by hosting James Madison University and Wilson College.

Veteran Tigers coach Dick Filbert, beginning his 20th season at the school, has taken Towson teams to the NCAA regionals 13 of the last 15 years.

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