Ex-Arundel star Marano is nearly perfect at line



March 26, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Move over, Sue Bird.

Look out, Ginny Doyle.

Jill Marano just put together an unbelievable season at the free-throw line for La Salle University.

The former Arundel High star hit 88 of 93 free throws, 94.6 percent, which is expected to go down as the second-best foul-shooting season in the history of NCAA women's basketball. The mark should become official once the women's tournament is completed and the season is over.

Marano, a 5-foot-7 sophomore shooting guard, passed the celebrated Bird (94.2 percent in 2001-02), who is now third, and threw a major scare into Doyle, who is No. 1 all-time with a 95.0 percent season. Doyle had her record year for Richmond during the 1991-92 season.

Doyle gained national notice for beating CBS-TV basketball analyst Billy Packer in a free-throw shooting contest

Bird was the national Player of the Year last season for Connecticut.

"It's kind of neat to accomplish something like this," said Marano. "There are no big secrets to my success. I shoot about 30 free throws a day in practice, just like the rest of the team. I have a regular ritual I go through each time I shoot a free throw, but concentration is probably the most important thing."

Marano also led La Salle (15-14, 6-10 Atlantic 10) this season in scoring (13.2 points a game) and in steals (42) while shooting 43.6 percent from the field and averaging 2.3 rebounds.

Marano had a 74-61 assist-to-turnover ratio, helping the Explorers improve nine games over last season (6-22).

The Crofton neighbor of Virginia Tech point guard Emily Lipton said she didn't exactly like being switched from point guard to shooting guard at La Salle.

"I played point in high school and wanted to stay there," said Marano, a first-team All-Metro selection two years ago. "But now I'm learning to like it. I kind of have a green light to shoot every time. The main thing at this level is just believing you can play with these people."

As to handling the much more physical nature of the college game, Marano said she survives because "I just get mean out there."

Another Arundel leader

East Carolina freshman shortstop Christine Sheridan (Archbishop Spalding) leads the Lady Pirates softball team (15-15, 1-7 Conference USA) in almost every offensive category.

Sheridan leads in average (.429), RBIs (21), slugging percentage (.701), on-base percentage (.573), walks (26), doubles (six) and triples (three). She is second in home runs (three) and has 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts.

Also helping East Carolina is another freshman from Anne Arundel County, North County alumna Brittany Boyd. She is 5-3 with a 2.42 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 21 walks in 52 innings.

Et cetera

Colby senior Sarah Walsh (Seton Keough) has been named a Kodak/Women's Basketball Coaches Association Division III All-American. Walsh is the first Colby women's basketball player to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in her career. She finished second all-time in scoring (1,409 points), first in rebounding (1,022) and first in steals (245).

Sophomores Tamika Rogers (Milford Mill) and Crystal Gibson (Randallstown) played leading roles for the Lebanon Valley women's basketball team, which captured the school's first Eastern College Athletic Conference South Region title. Rogers scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds in a 71-66 victory over Swarthmore in the title game, and Gibson added game highs of eight assists and four blocks and a team-high five steals.

J.D. Byers (Westminster), a 5-10 sophomore guard, averaged a team-high 16.8 points for the Lebanon Valley men's team. He also topped the Flying Dutchmen in three-pointers (78), three-point percentage (42.2), assists (122) and steals (35).

Freshman Kelley Tiesi (Catholic High) pitched a one-hitter Saturday for Shippensburg (13-5) in a 9-0 victory over Indiana University (Pa.), giving up a leadoff single and then retiring 18 straight hitters in a game called after six innings due to the eight-run mercy rule. Tiesi is 6-1 with an 0.99 ERA.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree706@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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