McDaniel set for clash with Marymount

Green Terror women aim to continue NCAA run in round of 16 tonight

State notebook

March 12, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

McDaniel faces one of its biggest athletic events ever tonight when the women's basketball team meets host Marymount in Arlington, Va., for a round-of-16 clash in the NCAA Division III tournament.

People close to the school's athletic program say the women's basketball team might have captured the imagination of the students and city of Westminster more than the 1997 football team that went to the national tournament.

"Students at McDaniel and Marymount are giving up spring break to be at this game," said Green Terror coach Becky Martin. "I've never seen that happen before. That's how much excitement this game has created.

"We're still floating on a cloud up here. From what I know of all 16 teams left, it's anybody's championship, and I say, "Why not us?'"

McDaniel (25-3) beat favored Johns Hopkins on its home court for the Centennial Conference tournament championship Feb. 29 before notching the school's first two NCAA D-III women's basketball tournament victories last week.

Now comes a supreme test at 7 p.m. at Verizon Sports Arena against a veteran 25-4 Marymount team that is making its fourth straight appearance in the final 16. Two years ago the Saints advanced to the final four.

Marymount is ranked 17th in the latest poll, while McDaniel is 14th in the same poll.

"We're going to go all out until the final buzzer and see what happens," said forward Kristy Costa, who averages 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds. "We're just taking this game as another challenge."

Martin said she sees a game in which the Green Terror's fast-breaking offense and full-court pressure defense will meet the Saints' half-court offense and man-to-man defense.

"We have a plan in place and we're up for the challenge," said Martin. "We won't be overwhelmed by it all like we were two years ago in this tournament. It's great to have a captain like Toby [McIntire] providing so much inspiration and leadership. Our players really believe in her."

McIntire (St. Mary's), a first-team All-Centennial pick, runs the offense from her point guard position and averages 8.2 points and 5.4 rebounds. She also leads the team in assists (5.3 per game) and steals (2.4 per game). She recently became the school's all-time assists leader.

Two juniors, 6-foot center Jacqueline Pundt and guard Kelly Cramp, have also been a major part of McDaniel's march.

Pundt is tied with Costa for the rebound lead with a 6.0 average, leads the team in blocks with 30, and averages 7.4 points. Cramp averages 10.9 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Marymount is led by 5-8 senior forward Annetta Benjamin, who is coming off a career-high 21 points in a round-of-32 victory over Johns Hopkins on Saturday. She is a first-team All-Capital Athletic Conference selection.

In addition to leading the team in scoring (11.6 average) and rebounding (7.9 average ), Benjamin also leads the team in steals (2.7 average) and blocks (1.1 a game).

Also playing key roles in Marymount's success have been forwards Katie Jarvis (10.4 points, 7.4 rebounds) and Mercy graduate Ashlee Courter (7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, team-leading 3.0 assists).

Et cetera

Bowie State sophomore Narica Offutt will be shooting for All-America honors in the 60-meter dash this weekend at the NCAA Division II indoor track and field championships in Boston. The two-time All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association sprinter is ranked No. 12 in Division II in the 60-meter dash (7.72 seconds).

Twelve Johns Hopkins swimmers will be competing this weekend in the NCAA Division III women's swimming and diving championships in St. Peters, Mo.

Sida Liu, Kelly Robinson, Abiona Redwood, Ariana Reks, Kristin Stepaniak, and Stephanie Leaman will be among those competing for the Blue Jays.

McDaniel softball coach George Dix earned his 300th career victory Tuesday, when his team swept a doubleheader from Messiah.

Hood College sophomore basketball forward Rita Willis has been selected the 2004 Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference Most Outstanding Player. She averaged 14.7 points and 8.6 rebounds.

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