Spalding can't stop Gators, ill Walsh; Seton Keough wins, 67-56, as forward puts away 23


Sarah Walsh, forward on No. 3-ranked Seton Keough, spent yesterday battling the lingering effects of a flu bug. Last night, however, she made Archbishop Spalding feel sick.

Walsh dominated play inside and finished with a season-high 23 points, plus 11 rebounds, to help Seton Keough defeat No. 6 Archbishop Spalding, 67-56, in a Catholic League game.

Walsh came into last night's game at Spalding averaging 5.6 points a game, but the Cavaliers simply could not stop her. She repeatedly posted up, got good position, and hit several close shots.

"We had no answer for Sarah," said Spalding coach Deb Taylor. "She's improved tremendously from last year."

Walsh scored nine straight points for Seton Keough (12-4 overall, 4-1 league) during a 1: 46 stretch in the opening four minutes. She finished with nine in the first quarter, but her 10-point third quarter keyed a Gators run that broke the game open.

Taylor said Spalding (13-6, 5-2) tried a variety of strategies to slow Walsh. The Cavaliers tried four players at defending Walsh, but she repeatedly gained good positions for easy shots.

"I hit my first few shots and felt good," said Walsh. "I knew this was a big game for us."

The Gators held a 34-31 halftime lead, but they scored nine of the first 11 of the second half to take a 10-point lead. Seton Keough pulled away in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 17.

Keisha Blackwell added 15 points for Seton Keough, hitting some big three pointers to stall Spalding drives. Itaxso Mallaviabarrena scored all eight of her points in the first quarter, helping the Gators take an early lead.

Jackie Valderas, Meaghan Allan, Denise King and Nikki Brown all contributed for the Gators, who played well at both ends.

In fact, defense was what helped the Gators keep the lead nearly the entire game. Even though Seton Keough played tough defense in the first half, Spalding still got plenty of good looks at the basket.

Seton Keough coach Jim Stromberg had his team step up half-court defensive pressure in the second half, something that continually disrupted the Cavs.

"I thought we really played better in the second half," said Stromberg. "We played better half-court defense, and we just got up on them more."

Seton Keough held the Cavaliers without baskets for at least three minutes a few times in the second half. They also forced more turnovers in the third and fourth quarters and took advantage of them to pull away.

Carlisa Howard and Kylie Bestul led Spalding with 12 points apiece and kept the Cavs close.

Seton Keough also dominated on the boards and repeatedly got trips to the free-throw line from the rebounds and attempted put-backs. The Gators made 16 of 22 free throws.

Pub Date: 1/23/99

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