Last night's Catholic League contest between No. 9-ranked John Carroll and No. 14 St. Frances matched two teams in search of their first league win.
Early on, St. Frances appeared ready to put the notch in their win column, but the host Patriots' transition game made the difference and a 14-3 third-quarter spurt broke the game open en route to a 78-70 victory.
John Carroll, behind 28 points from Kristin Jasper and 20 from Darby Burke, improved to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Catholic League. The Panthers, paced by Shanika Wallace's 20 points, are also 3-3 overall but dropped to 0-3 in the league.
"We needed this," said Patriots coach Kathleen Shannon, whose team has lost three-point games to No. 4 Roland Park, No. 8 Mercy and Bullis Prep. "We've had three three-point losses to tough teams, and we needed this as a confidence builder. St. Frances is a good team. They're physical. They're speedy and athletic."
The Panthers, who also lost a 59-38 league game to No. 3 Seton Keough Wednesday, ran all over John Carroll in the first 90 seconds. After Wallace's steal resulted in a layup by Shanell Watson (13 points) to run up a 7-0 lead, Shannon called time out.
"She had to call a timeout," said Burke, "because we weren't playing defense."
Back on the floor, the Patriots scored four straight baskets, including two by Burke, to take an 8-7 lead.
Although the lead went back and forth, the Panthers took a 17-16 edge into the second quarter. They boosted the margin to 36-31 on a 20-footer from Kia Coady (15 points) 51 seconds before the half.
The Panthers controlled the second quarter on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and a 10-3 edge in rebounding. They gave the Patriots trouble on the boards the entire game, finishing with a 49-26 advantage, led by 12 rebounds from Timmena Wilkens and eight from Charity Lee.
In the second half, however, the Patriots' transition game took over. Jasper's two free throws two minutes into the half put the Patriots ahead 39-38 for their first lead since 16-15.
The score was tied at 41, 43 and 45 before the Patriots took off on their 14-3 run for 59-48 lead with 1: 08 to go in the third quarter.
"We lost some people in transition," said Panthers coach Jerome Shelton. "We've got to be a little bit better in transition."
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers rallied to within 72-66 on Wallace's fourth three-pointer, but the Patriots' Jenny Biscoe (12 points) fed Jasper for a layup and then nailed a three-pointer from the corner.
Free-throw shooting also proved critical, because the Patriots hit 28 field goals and the Panthers 29. But John Carroll had 19 points at the line, including 9 of 11 by Jasper; St. Frances had seven.
Pub Date: 12/18/98