LARGO -- St. Mary's was able to find the overtime answers to overcome a talented Riverdale Baptist team and so much more, advancing to tonight's IAABO Christmas Invitational championship game with a thrilling 67-64 double-overtime win over the Lady Crusaders in last night's semifinal game.
The No. 2-ranked Saints (8-0) will meet Largo -- an 87-59 winner over No. 5 Arundel in the tournament's other semifinal -- for the championship set for 8 tonight at Prince George's Community College.
Foul trouble, poor shooting early -- particularly at the foul line -- and a quick and talented Riverdale Baptist team that came into the game with a 13-0 record had it looking as if the Saints would be headed for the third-place game.
Standout guard Emily Lipton fouled out late in regulation, but the Saints still displayed the senior leadership, big-game experience and clutch shooting necessary in the overtimes to advance to the tournament's 26th championship game.
Senior guard Terri Daniels, whose three-point play in the last minute of the second overtime period gave the Saints a 66-64 lead, put it best: "This is a big confidence booster to win without Emily. Everyone else stepped up and contributed in some way. It was a great victory."
As for her contributions, which included 18 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and taking over down the stretch, Daniels added: "I'm a senior -- that's my job. I love this; it's what basketball is all about."
St. Mary's went on a 9-2 run in the last 2: 20 of regulation to send the game into overtime, watched Riverdale Baptist guard Jennifer Baker hit a long three-pointer with two seconds left in the first overtime to send it to a second before prevailing behind Daniels and Co.
Senior guard Maria Smear also made a big contribution with 20 points, including a nice scoop to start the Saints' fourth-quarter rally. Junior guard Tobi McIntire took care of the ball in Lipton's absence and finished with seven points.
Senior center Felicia Holloway, also in foul trouble, was able to stay in the game to finish with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Amy Mulligan and sophomore guard Lauren Bonanni also gave coach Harry Dobson quality minutes.
Largo 87, Arundel 59: After coming up with an 83-39 win over John Carroll in the tournament opener on Saturday, Largo (7-0) scored a tournament-record 87 points against Arundel (5-2) to advance to the tournament championship game.
The loss sends the Wildcats to the third-place game against Riverdale Baptist today at 6.
Junior guard Chanell Sutton scored 16 points to lead Arundel, which also got a 12-point effort from senior Meagan Rollins.
James Madison (Va.) 43, No. 13 John Carroll 30: Leading by three at the half, the Lady Warhawks from Vienna, Va., limited John Carroll (3-5) to 10 second-half points to take control in a consolation-round game.
The Patriots, who got a team-high nine points from sophomore Kristin Jasper, will meet Washington, D.C.'s Coolidge -- a 63-53 loser to DuVal in the other consolation game yesterday -- today at 2 for seventh place.
Pub Date: 12/29/98