Mercy tops IND in `The Game'

Mercy 47 Inst. of Notre Dame 34

Girls basketball

February 03, 2007|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Sun

When Mercy and the Institute of Notre Dame meet in their annual matchup known simply as "The Game" to the two schools, the records of the teams are usually irrelevant as soon as the referee throws the tip-off.

The game means grabbing the bragging rights for an entire year, and last night Mercy used a methodical offense and some clutch shooting down the stretch for a 47-34 win over the Indians at a sold-out Towson Center. The win ended a five-game losing streak for the Magic in "The Game" series.

"Defensively, we did a great job," Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion said. "They did a good job working hard against their two post players [Caitlin Bopp and Akilah Sewell] because they are so solid. We also did a really good job of slowing them down and limited them to one shot on the offensive boards, which was critical also."

Both teams came out tight, and Mercy's Khadija Mitchell's free throw with 5:23 left in the first quarter were the first points of the game. After both teams settled down and got used to the raucous crowd, each was able to set up its half-court offense, and Mercy took a 23-19 lead into halftime.

Mercy (12-11, 7-9 Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference) continued to play patiently in the second half and opened up its biggest lead of the game, 43-32, on a layup by Jessica Zikuros (eight points) with 3:13 left in the game. IND tried to fight back and went to the press, but Mercy was able to spread out its offense and move the ball around to take time off the clock.

The Magic made two of four free throws, and Marcia Bond (five points) hit a jumper in the final two minutes to seal the win. Mitchell, a junior, had a game-high 15 points and said she liked the way she matched up with IND's guards and took advantage of her open shots.

"We haven't won this game since I have been here and I just really wanted to pull it off," Mitchell said. "At first, my shot was not falling, but I knew I had to move in and shoot because they would eventually start falling."

IND (8-12, 8-8) was led by Amanda Ward, who scored 11 points, and Sewell, who finished with 10.

Mercy beat IND, 43-41, earlier this season.

Neither IND nor Mercy has a chance to catch No. 2 Towson Catholic or No. 3 Seton Keough in standings of Division Y of the IAAM A Conference, so last night could prove to be the highlight of the season for the two teams.

"This was great for women's basketball, this was great for Mercy and it was great for IND," Marion said. "This is the best high school girls rivalry in the area."

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