If No. 6-ranked St. Mary's continues to play the way it did in the fourth quarter yesterday against No. 7 Mercy, the Saints' recent skid should be history.
The Saints had lost their last three games against ranked Catholic League opponents, but yesterday, they rebounded with a 24-point fourth quarter to put away host Mercy, 64-47.
For the Magic, the going was tougher without 6-0 All-Metro center Jamie Vogtman, who averages 18 points and 10 rebounds. The senior left-hander is sidelined with sprained ligaments in her left thumb and is questionable for the rest of the season.
In the first meeting this winter, Vogtman contributed 11 points and nine rebounds, but the Saints escaped with a 61-60 victory. After their recent skid, however, the Saints knew winning yesterday's game could be tougher.
"We just realized that we had to step it up and win this one," said senior Terri Daniels, who set a school record for assists with 12 and hadnine points and 13 rebounds.
"We've been struggling lately," said Daniels, who said there had been some friction within the team but that the Saints worked through it, with advice from coach Harry Dobson, on a two-game trip to New Jersey last weekend.
"Mr. Dobson just said, 'You guys, this is your last year. Why are you playing like this?' and it just hit us that it is our last year," said Daniels. "Now, we've gotten everything taken care of. We're all best friends, and we have great team unity. That's what really pulled us through [yesterday]. We played like a team, and we hit the shots we needed to hit."
Although the Saints (22-6, 12-3 in the Catholic League) emerged with a 17-point victory, most of the game was much closer. Mercy (19-11, 10-6) pulled within 36-35 on Abby Pyzik's pull-up 12-footer with 3: 40 to go and stayed within five until the fourth quarter.
But the Saints, who struggled early with silly fouls and sloppy passes, cranked up their defense and rolled through the final quarter. They forced six Mercy turnovers and hit 10 of 13 shots in the quarter. They hit their first six shots and opened with a 12-3 run, including four points from All-Metro guard Emily Lipton, who finished with 21.
The Magic, who never led, stayed close through most of the game behind 18 points and nine rebounds from Ashlee Courter and 10 points each from Pyzik and Kaitie Schuyler, who also had five assists and five steals. But when the Saints started clicking, the Magic could not keep up.
"We felt the pressure that we had to score," said Courter. "We knew time was running down, and we felt pressure to get the ball moving faster and we started rushing. They picked off some passes and they got easy layups."
No. 13 John Carroll 43, No. 2 Seton Keough 38: Sarah Oktavec had a game-high 14 points as the host Patriots (13-11) handed the Gators (21-5) only their second Catholic League loss of the season. John Carroll led 17-15 at halftime and held Seton Keough to one field goal in the third period on the way to a 30-17 lead.
The Gators got as close as 38-35 late in the final quarter.
Pub Date: 2/18/99