By game's end, which yesterday included overtime, No. 2-ranked St. Mary's got something from everyone.
All of it was needed. Because No. 7-ranked Mercy arrived in Annapolis with a "play hard and see what happens" approach to the Catholic League game.
St. Mary's senior guard Terri Daniels made the last big thing happen, however, putting back an offensive rebound with 15 seconds left in overtime to provide the winning margin, 61-60.
In the closing seconds of regulation, a three-pointer from Mercy senior forward Ashlee Courter (21 points) had sent the game into extra time.
After Daniels' game-winner, however, the Magic (14-7 overall, 5-3 league) couldn't find a second answer, losing the ball at midcourt as time expired.
The Saints, 14-2 on the season, remaining undefeated in league play at 6-0.
"We're used to playing overtime, and we're used to playing tight games, so we have to win these kinds of games -- especially at our place. These are the games that keep you young," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson.
The Saints reached overtime behind some fine inside play from senior center Felicia Holloway (21 points, 11 rebounds), the baseline shooting of senior Maria Smear (17 points), and the all-around effort of Daniels, who just missed a triple-double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.
The Magic got to that point with a nearly flawless first quarter that provided the game's only 10-point lead, 20-10, a zone defense that puzzled the Saints, and strong play from senior center Jamie Vogtman (11 points, nine rebounds, five steals) and Kaitie Schuyler (13 points, eight assists).
"They gave me everything they had and didn't let down," said Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion. "Even when we were down, they had the attitude they were going to win. That's all a coach can ask."
She continued: "There are five or six teams in the Catholic League that on any given day can beat another. Right now, St. Mary's has the upper hand. It's a great time of year -- great basketball."
With the game tied at 55 going into overtime, St. Mary's senior All-Metro guard Emily Lipton, whom the Magic had limited to just one third-quarter basket, hit two straight jumpers, putting the Saints up, 59-55.
Courter, fouled trying a three-pointer with 1: 40 left, hit all three foul shots to cut the deficit to 59-58. Then, with 28 seconds left, Mercy took the lead, 60-59, on Heather Ables' only two points of the game, leading to Daniels' final, off-the-glass put-back.
"Intense," said Holloway. "The whole way."
Added Smear: "It seems there's five or six tough teams in our league that a game can go either way. It comes down to the wire every time. Felicia helped us out a lot down low, and Terri and Emily also had great games."
Pub Date: 1/28/99