St. Frances splashes around on St. Mary's

With McCoughtry, Evans in paint, No. 3 Panthers roll, 50-38, in gym debut

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 19, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Going into last night's game in St. Frances Academy's new gym, senior Kia Coady wasn't sure her Panthers would have home-court advantage just yet.

"We didn't know how things were going to go, because this is our first time playing on this floor. We've never even practiced here," Coady said.

The No. 3 Panthers adapted to their new home quickly, using a pressure defense and accentuating mismatches inside to defeat No. 10 St. Mary's, 50-38, in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference girls basketball game.

Angel McCoughtry, a 6-foot sophomore forward, and Keila Evans, a 6-2 senior center, combined for 18 points and 22 rebounds.

The Saints (13-5, 4-5 conference) just could not stop the agile McCoughtry, who got the Panthers (12-4, 10-1) rolling with six points, three rebounds and two steals in the first four minutes.

"They beat us on the boards," Saints coach Harry Dobson said. "That's why we opened up in a zone. We didn't think we were quick enough to play them man-to-man, and we still couldn't rebound."

Surprisingly, the Panthers only grabbed one more rebound than the Saints, but they did much more with the ones they got. McCoughtry scored the first two baskets of the game on put-backs, and the Panthers had 16 second-chance points in the game. The Saints managed four.

"Our coach told us to play what was on the floor," Coady said. "We saw the mismatches and we got the ball to our big people."

The Saints had so much trouble matching up with McCoughtry and Evans that they ended up putting the duo on the line for eight free throws in the third quarter. The Panthers hit just four of 12 shots from the field during the quarter, and didn't hit a basket after the 3:49 mark, but they held on by going 8-for-15 from the line.

Early in the fourth quarter, St. Mary's pulled within 41-32 on a driving layup and a free throw from Julie Gladchuk. Coady answered by maneuvering into the lane for a rebound and sinking the follow.

"Our guards really kept the pressure on them offensively," Panthers coach Jerome Shelton said. "We just wanted to keep attacking and try to wear them down defensively with pressure. We felt their strength was in the backcourt, so we wanted to try to make those players work hard for their points."

St. Mary's freshman guards Breon Summers and Bri Gauthier scored 11 and seven points, respectively.

St. Frances' defense forced 22 turnovers. Five of them helped run the lead to 35-24 on an 11-1 third-quarter run.

McCoughtry picked up her fourth foul with 3:32 left in the third quarter and sat until the five-minute mark of the fourth, but the Saints couldn't take advantage. They hit just two of 11 third-quarter shots.

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