COLLEGE PARK -- For about four minutes last night against the University of Washington, the Loyola women's basketball team looked a lot less like a team without a win and more like a squad with a decent chance at an upset.
For those four minutes of the first half, the Greyhounds ran out to a 10-0 lead, and did a terrific job forgetting their relative lack of quickness and size and played the Huskies with guts and heart.
Eventually, however, those four minutes ended, the 10-point lead disappeared and the Greyhounds were swamped, 82-57, in the opening round of the Dial Soap Classic at the University of Maryland.
The Huskies (6-1) will meet the winner of last night's second game between Maryland and UMES in the championship contest tonight.
The Greyhounds (0-6), to their credit, were especially sharp at getting behind the Washington defense in the game's initial stages, until the Huskies picked up their pressure.
"They came out to an impressive start and we weren't ready for it," said Washington forward Tara Davis.
Once untracked, Washington asserted control, particularly on the boards, where they outrebounded the Greyhounds 52-26.
Their superiority on the offensive glass was even more pronounced, as they pulled down 28 offensive rebounds to only three for Loyola.
"We lost our concentration," said Loyola coach Pat Coyle. "Once they put pressure on us, we forgot how to play."
FTC Said Washington coach Chris Gobrecht: "They earned our respect very quickly. We needed to have that respect to pick up the level of our game."
It would have been difficult to expect the Greyhounds, who have just two players taller than 6-feet, to be a match for Washington, an NCAA tournament entrant in eight of the last nine seasons, whose front line averages 6 feet 2.
One of those Washington forwards, junior Laura Gonsalves scored a career- high 20 points with nine rebounds, while center Rhonda Smith had 22 points and 13 rebounds, nine on the offensive end.
"We had a size advantage inside and we made sure that we got to use our size in the post," said Gonsalves.
"You're looking at different levels of Division I here," said Coyle. "I can't believe they're not in the top 20. The size and athleticism is what it's about. That's why we're playing teams like this. Our kids have to understand what the next level is all about."