After 30-year drought, Harford women storm to 17-4 mark

State notebook


February 21, 2002|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

One of the most astonishing basketball stories in the state this season has unfolded at Harford Community College.

The Harford women's team has gained national acclaim with a 17-4 record after going three seasons with a total of only one victory - by a forfeit. Two seasons ago, Harford didn't even have enough players to field a team.

Thirty years had passed since the school had a winning record in women's basketball.

Then along came Mike Blizzard from the high school coaching ranks (Havre de Grace) and nine determined freshmen, putting a new charge into a dying program.

LaShuna Cooper, a 5-foot-4 guard, is second in the nation in junior-college scoring (25.4 average), and 5-8 guard Kristin Jasper is eighth with a 20.6 average. Cooper and Jasper are third and fourth nationally in steals with 4.8 and 4.7 averages, respectively.

"We play with a little bit of an attitude," Blizzard said. "We'll knock you down but help you up. Our theme for the season is: respect. Cooper is one of the three best players in the nation, and Jasper does it all." She doubles as the team's unofficial public relations director, too.

The other members of the team are Roni Taylor, Shia Sheppard, Tasha Wilson, Heather Shaefer, Corrine Chambers, Silke O'Hern and Marquita Holmes.

DiPalo, Elliott honored

Loyola College junior defender Annie DiPalo and sophomore midfielder Katie Elliott have been selected to the third-team Mid-Atlantic regional All-America team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

DiPalo and Elliott led the Greyhounds to their first-ever NCAA women's tournament bid last season, and Elliott scored the only goal in Loyola's victory in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament title game.

Elliott also led the team with 20 points (six goals, eight assists) and was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the MAAC tournament.

Conley show

Will Mark Conley turn tomorrow's Army-Navy dual wrestling match at Alumni Hall in Annapolis into a showcase of his many talents at 141 pounds?

It could easily happen, because the Navy team captain is ranked No. 1 nationally at that weight, and with 15 straight wins and a 35-2 record, he's one of the country's hottest wrestlers entering the 6:30 p.m. match.

Jones Player of Month

Senior guard Brandon Jones has been on a season-long scoring tear for St. Mary's College of Maryland, leading the Capital Athletic Conference in scoring with an average of 23.5 points a game.

Jones (Cardinal Gibbons) has soared despite the team's 4-17 overall record. He broke the school's all-time scoring record in January (1,541 points) and was named the St. Mary's Athlete of the Month.

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