Top 2 collide today in battle of unbeatens; No. 1 McDonogh girls visit 2nd-ranked St. Mary's


In a game matching unbeaten teams and featuring the past two metro Players of the Year with a wealth of talent around them, the No. 1 McDonogh girls visit Annapolis this afternoon to take on No. 2 St. Mary's.

"This is what we go to practice for every day, to play games like this. It's a huge game for both of us and should be a lot of fun," said McDonogh coach Katie Keating.

Two years ago, St. Mary's finished as the area's top team largely behind the stellar play of guard Emily Lipton. Last year, it was McDonogh's and guard Vicki Brick's turn to claim the top spot, defeating the Saints, 55-39, along the way.

This season, the Eagles (14-0) have a 32-game win streak, and the Saints (12-0) are riding high after winning the highly regarded IAABO Holiday Tournament in Prince George's County.

"I think the number of close games we've been in and the competition we've played will help us in this game," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson. "And we also have the home court this year -- the place will be jammed."

Senior guard Maria Smear, who limited Brick to eight points last season, is averaging 16 points for the Saints, with Lipton at 14. Terri Daniels (9.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists) provides versatility, and Felicia Holloway (8.0 points, 8.0 rebounds) plays a big role inside.

McDonogh is also balanced, with Brick, averaging more than 20 points, the primary outside threat and Greichaly Cepero (10.0 points, 10.0 rebounds) a force in the middle.

"We match up with them pretty well," Keating said. "We're going to have to play really good defense and stay out of foul trouble."

Dobson said the key for the Saints will also be defense. "We've got to get a certain amount of turnovers and play the up-tempo style. Defense is our offense."

Pub Date: 1/11/99

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