It took the Towson women about 25 minutes to build a 15-point lead over Loyola last night, and only 10 minutes to lose it.
The Greyhounds ended their streaky play in an emotion-packed overtime, prevailing, 69-66, at Reitz Arena behind Mary Anne Kirsch's 22 points.
Loyola's turnaround began when it trailed 40-25 and, according to Greyhounds coach Pat Coyle, "The main reason was we began to go back inside to Mary Anne Kirsch. She's our bread and butter."
Kirsch kept Loyola within reach in the first half, going 6-for-7 from the field as Towson ran out to a 31-18 lead.
Meanwhile, her teammates were shooting less than 10 percent (2-for-10).
The Tigers took that commanding lead behind the balanced scoring set up by point guard LaTonya Joyner. But Loyola switched to a zone defense to begin its comeback.
"I don't think Towson expected us to zone as much as we did," Coyle said, "but we had to stop Joyner from penetrating and getting the ball back out to [Sonia] Keiner."
It worked perfectly, as the quick-shooting Keiner ended up hitting just two of 10 shots.
While it was Kirsch who carried the Greyhounds throughout with 9-for-10 shooting and 12 rebounds, it was outside shooters Theresa Cooney and Corey Hewitt who hit three-pointers in the last minute to tie the game at 61 and force overtime.
Loyola trailed by as much as four points (66-62) during the extra session, but an inside score and two foul shots by Kirsch tied it before Hewitt hit three of four from the foul line to clinch the Greyhounds' fourth win in seven outings.
Towson had a chance to win in regulation, but was unable to get a shot off in the last 24 seconds as its players seemed exhausted with little movement off the ball, which forced Joyner to dribble out the clock.
Again, with no time remaining on the clock at the end of overtime, Towson freshman Jill McGowan, an honorable mention USA Today All-American, was fouled as she launched a three-point attempt to force a second overtime.
But McGowan ended the suspense immediately by missing her first try from the line.
Towson's record dropped to 5-3 but it still maintains a 19-6 series advantage with Loyola, dating to 1975.
Pub Date: 12/23/97