A young St. Frances team previewed its potentially promising future yesterday afternoon, and St. Mary's continued its uncharacteristic downward slide in the Catholic League.
The No. 12-ranked Panthers got contributions from everyone, outworking the No. 3 Saints on the boards and answering every challenge in the fourth quarter to take a 70-61 win at Baltimore's College of Notre Dame.
Four players -- all underclassmen -- reached double figures for St. Frances, with freshman Kia Coady providing a team-high 18, including eight in the decisivefourth quarter.
St. Frances improved to 15-7 overall and 5-6 in the league. St. Mary's (19-5) dropped its third league game in less than two weeks after going 14-0 last season and starting this winter's league play at 8-0.
"St. Mary's has been the dominant team in our league the last couple of years, so this is big for us," said St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton. "It was an excellent team effort, and that's what you have to have to beat a good team like St. Mary's."
Dominating the offensive boards kept the Panthers close in the first half, as junior center Charity Lee scored 11 of her 15 points, the majority on second chances, before intermission.
The Saints led at the break, 33-31.
After St. Mary's opened the fourth quarter with the first two baskets to regain the lead at 53-52, the Panthers were able to answer offensively with isolation that resulted in easy drives to the basket.
First, Coady got into the lane before pulling up for a short jumper. Junior guard Shanell Watson (13 points) followed with a driving layup. Then Coady did the same. LaTanya Blue (12) went to work for two more before Coady converted a three-point play with 3: 55 left to give the Panthers a 63-58 lead.
Four straight free throws in the final minute put the game away.
"We wanted to get them in situations where they would have to guard us off the dribble," said Shelton. "The second shots kept them away from their transition game. Today, we were able to get it down on the glass.
"For our younger players, with the talented group of seniors [St. Mary's has], this really speaks well of them."
After the loss, a frustrated St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson chose his words carefully, promising some lineup changes when the Saints, who start five seniors, take on Mount de Sales today.
"The defense was horrible, and we had no intensity. Monday, we beat a terrific team [Riverdale Baptist], playing a terrific game, and then we come here and play like this," he said.
"Against Mount de Sales, we're going to make some changes to get ready for next year. We have kids sitting on the bench who I know will come out and play."
The Saints, who went 21 of 25 from the free-throw line, got a game-high 20 points from senior guard Emily Lipton. Fellow senior Maria Smear finished with 10.
Pub Date: 2/11/99