After a standout first season, Navy's Dowling again steps up

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Naval Academy forward Becky Dowling is burying any thoughts of a sophomore jinx with the same fluid motion she uses on her jump shots.

Dowling, the Patriot League's reigning Rookie of the Year, continues to show no mercy on Midshipmen opponents, scoring 63 points in her first three games. She had 25 points, six rebounds and nine steals in an 80-64 win over Morgan State in the opening round of the Navy Tip-Off Classic, then sealed Most Valuable Player honors with 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 76-69 victory over Eastern Michigan.

Dowling, 5 feet 11, was just getting started. Her 20 points -- including 18 in the second half -- and 11 rebounds were a big part of Wednesday's 76-65 win at Long Island. And she's a major reason Navy brought a 3-0 record into yesterday's opening game of the Liberty Invitational.

"We're using her more in our offensive scheme," said coach Joe Sanchez, who started one junior, three sophomores and a plebe Wednesday. "We're playing her at the three and four positions, and also some in the post. She gets a lot of her points on rebounds, and we're utilizing her outside shooting more. She's really worked on her overall game. We're going to her more and she's responding well."

Last season, Dowling averaged 13.4 points and a team-leading nine rebounds. Her scoring and defense have improved, she continues to pound the boards, and the notion of a jinx is looking sillier by the day.

"It never crossed my mind," Sanchez said. "Her work ethic is too strong. She's in the gym shooting at 8 a.m. Her work ethic is there. Her love of the game is there."

Football power

According to officials in Frostburg State's athletic department, the Bobcats are the most successful college football program in the state, at any level, over the past seven years. And they have the numbers to prove it.

Frostburg has gone 54-14-2 during that time, a winning percentage of .794. The Bobcats have appeared in five postseason games (two NCAA, three ECAC), advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals in 1993 and winning the ECAC Southeast Region championship in 1991. They also boast 14 Division III All-Americans between 1989 and 1994.

"All of this is a direct reflection on our coaching staff and their vTC ability to recruit throughout the state of Maryland," said Loyal K. Park, Frostburg's athletic director. "It shows the quality of athlete they're attracting. And people stay in our program. They're here for four years."

They are also proficient in the classroom.

"These guys do well academically, too," Park said. "We have a higher graduation rate than ever before. We're just as proud of our academic prowess as our athletic prowess, and that's not just in football. That goes for all 20 of our sports."

Park said a replacement for football coach Mike McGlinchey, who resigned for health reasons, should be named by early February. Applications are being taken until the first week in January.

Miscellaneous

Maryland and Penn State are the only schools to earn NCAA tournament bids for field hockey, men's and women's soccer and volleyball. The Terrapins were runners-up in field hockey, made the final eight in women's soccer, advanced to the second round in men's soccer and travel to Ohio State for today's second-round volleyball match. . . . Johns Hopkins sophomore forward Julie Anderson was chosen the Centennial Conference's Player of the Week after shooting 66.7 percent from the field and scoring 21 points in 24 minutes of a 79-51 victory over Swarthmore. She also grabbed 12 rebounds, giving her three double-doubles in as many games. A fourth came during Tuesday's 70-31 rout of Bryn Mawr, when she had 14 points and 13 rebounds. . . . Washington College junior forward Allison Wentworth made the Centennial Conference's honor roll after scoring 23 points and pulling down 15 rebounds in a 64-57 victory over Goucher. She also made two free throws with 22 seconds left to seal the win, helping the Shorewomen to their best start at 3-0. . . . UMBC volleyball player Dana Eberly ranks second in career blocks with 305, trailing Rehena Rentuma (331), and third in kills with 885. Lisa Cline's 3.83 kills-per-game average is third in school history. . . . In the second annual UMBC Retriever women's basketball invitational, the hosts play Maryland-Eastern Shore at 3 p.m. today, after the 1 p.m. game between Niagara and Fordham. The consolation game is 1 p.m. tomorrow, followed by the championship matchup at 3 p.m. . . . The men's basketball team at Coppin State is shooting for its fourth straight MEAC regular-season championship, something no league team has accomplished.

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