Mount women doomed by 29 turnovers

Top seed St. Francis wins NEC quarterfinal, 60-50

March 03, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

EMMITSBURG - On defense, the eighth-seeded Mount St. Mary's women's basketball team was more than up to the challenge of yesterday afternoon's Northeast Conference quarterfinal against top-seeded St. Francis.

The same couldn't be said for its offense.

Turning the ball over 29 times - 10 more than their season average - and shooting just 31 percent, the Mountaineers (12-16) fell behind early and never found the needed offensive boost to recover, surrendering, 60-50, to the Red Flash at Knott Arena.

Going into yesterday's game, the No. 8 seed was 0-7 against the top seed in tournament history. But the Mountaineers, who defeated St. Francis, 64-52, at home on Jan. 31, appeared to have a realistic chance to change that.

And, St. Francis didn't exactly resemble a top-seeded team yesterday. The Red Flash (17-11) shot only 38 percent, had 20 turnovers of its own and, when the Mountaineers started with only one field goal in the game's first seven-plus minutes, could produce only a 10-2 lead.

But the Mountaineers, in dire need of one substantial run, were never able to find one to offset their slow start.

Mount coach Vanessa Blair looked at the nervous beginning - eight turnovers and eight missed shots countering Rebecca Wike's only made basket in the opening seven minutes - as the key.

"Players miss shots and they see other players who usually hit shots still missing, I think it has an effect on everybody," she said. "So I think that nervousness and the fear or whatever that was going on in the beginning attributed and spiraled down. We were just never able to overcome that, we would get close ... and it was hard for us to get back on track from the beginning."

A basket from sophomore center Beth Foster, who finished with a team-high 13 points to go with nine rebounds, brought the Mountaineers within 48-42 with 5:01 left, but the Red Flash spent most of the remaining time on the free-throw line.

"Our defense was good," Blair said. "We held the No. 1 team in the 60s, but when you're shooting 31 percent, you can't win games. I was very happy with our defensive intensity. Defense is what kept us in the game.

"I thought the ladies played hard, but we did not do what we wanted to offensively. We shot poorly and had 18 turnovers in the first half. So I think by the time we relaxed St. Francis had gained a lot of confidence and it was hard for us to come back."

MOUNT ST. MARY'S-Baccouche 4-14 2-2 12, Wike 1-3 0-0 2, Foster 6-14 1-1 13, Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Fobbs 0-2 1-2 1, Kokotajlo 2-7 3-4 7, Bogart 2-7 2-5 6, Walton 1-7 0-0 3, Long 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 19-61 9-14 50. ST. FRANCIS (PA.)-Chesick 7-12 1-2 15, Swink 3-7 3-6 9, Hewitt 2-10 2-4 6, Allison 3-10 0-2 7, Ward 8-17 2-6 18, Black 2-5 1-2 5, Schlichter 0-5 0-1 0. Totals 25-66 9-23 60. Halftime-St. Francis, 26-21. Rebounds-Mt. St. Mary's 42 (Foster 9); St. Francis 52 (Chesick 12). Assists-Mt. St. Mary's 12 (Fobbs 6); St. Francis 14 (Allison, Ward 4). A-513.

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