Veteran Towson University women's coach Ellen Fitzkee pushed all the right buttons down the stretch last night against a favored Loyola College team but still walked off the court a 60-55 loser at the Towson Center.
Fitzkee shuffled players in and out of the game in the final minutes in an attempt to come back from a seven-point deficit and had the ball in the right player's hands for a potential game-tying three-point shot with 4.2 seconds left.
And it looked as if three-point sharpshooter Mylisa Pilione would send the game into overtime when she let a shot fly from the corner with the Tigers trailing 58-55.
Pilione had the right rotation on the ball, but it was a little short, skimming off the rim and bouncing over the basket.
Erica Rath came up with the rebound for Loyola and was fouled by Jill McGowan with one second left. Rath hit both free throws to account for the margin of victory.
If Pilione had made the shot and Towson (4-3) had gone on to win in overtime, it would have been a major early-season statement for the young Tigers against a strong Loyola (4-1) squad that owns a win over Maryland and is expected to be a strong contender for an NCAA tournament berth.
"It is disappointing to lose," said Fitzkee. "We played quicker people in the second half and put pressure on them and it paid off. We just couldn't hit our free throws [missed five in the final 9: 48] and had too many turnovers. But oh, how I did think that last shot was going in by Mylisa."
Pilione hit all three three-point shots in the first half but missed all five of her shots beyond the arc in the second. She still finished with 13 points to share scoring honors with Jess Gordon for the losers.
For Loyola, the win was not artistic but about what coach Pat Coyle and scoring leader Mary Anne Kirsch (17 points) expected.
Coyle, who recorded her 100th victory in her seven years at Loyola, said, "I have a lot of respect for Ellen Fitzkee. She did a great coaching job against us and made it tough to win. I hope Towson appreciates her. Anytime you can beat Towson on its home floor, you can't be too upset."
The Greyhounds didn't make a field goal in the last 13: 09 of the game and only had three field goals in the second half. But they hit five of six free throws in the final 16 seconds to hold off the Tigers, despite losing outstanding forward Jina Mosley six minutes into the game with a shoulder injury.
Pub Date: 12/09/98