To most area basketball fans, Friday nights Mercy-Institute of Notre Dame matchup was just another game. To fans and alumnae of the two schools, it's simply known as "The Game". Calling it a rivalry would kind of be an understatement. It's all about pride, and it's all about bragging rights.
In the 47th edition, it was Mercy that outlasted IND, 42-28, in front of roughly 4,000 fans at the Towson Center.
Kristina Bayton led the Magic (6-13) with 12 points, while Brooke Fields paced the Penguins (9-8) with 10.
The victory gives Mercy a 31-16 all-time edge and avenges a loss to IND earlier this season.
"For three and a half quarters, this was the most complete game we've played all year," Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion said. "We didn't turn the ball over, and our defensive rebounding was amazing. I think we picked the right time to put it all together."
The Penguins appeared to be the better team early, using a layup by Brooke Fields and a 3-pointer by Jennifer Hahn to take a 5-0 lead just 1:50 into the game. Then it was Mercy's turn.
The Magic turned up the intensity on the defensive end and scored 12 of the next 15 points.
It was more of the same in the second quarter, with the Magic's defense increasing its intensity even more. Mercy held IND to just six points in the quarter, and the offense took advantage of several key turnovers and stops to run the floor and get easier shots. Mercy got eight points from Bayton in the period to take a 28-14 lead into halftime.
Trailing 39-19 entering the fourth quarter, the Penguins rallied to score the first eight points, with the biggest shot coming on a 3-pointer from Whysper Irving, which cut the margin to 39-27. After that, they could get no closer.
"It's amazing to beat them and win this game," said Mercy sophomore point guard Iiysia Lewis. "We came out focused, and we were ready. It feels like all our hard work has finally paid off."
For IND, the loss was hard after recording three straight wins against the Magic.
"Give Mercy credit, they played well," Hahn said. "They got the lead and we kind of slumped off a little. To win the game, you have to be able to put the ball in the round cylinder. We scored 60 last week, but we just didn't do that tonight."
Mercy 42, IND 28
IND – Hahn 7, Fields 10, Irving 5, Caution 5, Lewis 1. Totals: 11 3-11 28.
MERCY – Shanahan 6, Hruz 11, Bayton 12, Lewis 8, Cochran 5. Totals: 18 6-15 42. Halftime, M 28-14