Towson's Generals looked like two different teams last night. The one with Katie Walker, and the one without.
Towson's senior center scored 19 points and made her presence felt throughout the game, to lead No. 12 Towson (12-0, 12-0) to a 55-43 win over host Catonsville (10-4, 9-3) in a Baltimore County 1A-2A game.
With the Generals leading 37-25 late in the third quarter, Walker picked up her fourth foul and retreated to the bench.
The Comets, led by Shannon Rexrode's 10 points, whittled away at the deficit, eventually cutting the lead to 37-35 on two Christina Tanner free-throws.
Then Walker returned.
"You could see it in their eyes," said Catonsville coach Mike Mohler. "It was almost like we said, 'She's out, we can make a run.' But then she came back, and the momentum changed again."
After Walker's return, the Generals went on an 8-0 run to make the score 45-35 and put the game away.
"I think that even when I'm sitting, our team is still good," said Walker. "With Katie [Barnes] and Kerry [Koch], we had the height, and I think we used it tonight."
Walker, at 6 feet 2, was by far the tallest player on the court, and used that advantage on both ends of the floor. The senior scored eight of Towson's first 10 points to give the Generals an early lead.
Towson coach Beverly Snyder knows the value of Walker to her team, but said she was only part of the difference.
"When both Katies [Walker and Barnes] are sitting on the bench, it's tough for us," she said. "I think the rest of the team played well in their absence, but losing them both hurt us, no question."
"She was the difference," said Catonsville guard Meghann Mohler. "She was just unstoppable tonight. When she plays like she did tonight, there is no way to stop her. I give her credit."
The win sets up a showdown between Towson and second-place Loch Raven on Wednesday.
The Raiders have lost to the Generals once this year and need the game to remain in contention for the county title.
"This was a good win for us," said Snyder. "Catonsville played well, but their shots weren't falling. This should set us up well for Loch Raven."
As for Catonsville, Mohler said he thinks the win will help his team.
"I told them that winning the county title was pretty much out of the question now," said Mohler. "Now our goal is to get better ever game."
"That, and find a 6-foot-3 center," he said with a smile.