Hopkins women gain in NCAA; Blue Jays drop Cabrini in tourney opener, 61-53

THE BALTIMORE SUN

It was appropriate that Joy Vaccaro and Felicia Schorr should play vital roles for Johns Hopkins' women's basketball team in its 61-53 victory over Cabrini last night in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament at Goldfarb Gymnasium, one of them making key three-pointers and the other helping to defend the opponent's main inside threat.

Vaccaro and Schorr, along with Jen Deaderick, form a trio of seniors who became the winningest class to ever play for the Blue Jays. Their 92nd victory -- surpassing the 91 by the All-America duo of Julie Anderson and Angie Arnold -- moved Hopkins into a second-round game Saturday at 2 p.m. at Elizabethtown (Pa.), the winningest program in the history of women's college basketball.

"We were joking about it, because we're not known for our scoring," said Vaccaro, who normally plays a supporting role, but led the Blue Jays in scoring last night with 13 points.

"I guess we should say thank you to everyone we were fortunate enough to play with. But this is our fourth straight year in the NCAAs -- more games, more wins. We're just delighted to be a part of it."

That experience came into play as the Blue Jays (23-4) hit 10 free throws over the last 2: 33 to beat the Cavaliers (20-8) for their ninth straight victory.

Hopkins, which has made it to the NCAA round of eight in each of the last two seasons, mounted a late 10-2 run, which began with a jumper by Schorr and featured a back-breaking three-pointer by Vaccaro that gave the Blue Jays a 53-44 lead with 1: 45 remaining.

"We've played some tight games this season," Blue Jays coach Nancy Blank said, "and I can sense from my team and from our leadership that we're going to win the game; we're still in control."

Down 46-31 after a lay-in by Hopkins' Marjahna Segers with 9: 40 remaining, Cabrini's previously absent inside game returned, particularly in the form of senior center Melissa Posse.

Able to muster only two points in the first half, Posse -- a four-time first-teamer in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference -- scored six of her game-high 15 points as the Cavaliers produced 13 unanswered points.

The last basket came on a three-pointer by Mary Ellen Murphy with 5: 32 left in the game that closed the Blue Jays' lead to 46-42. At this point, Cabrini coach Dan Welde hoped to slow the game down.

"We were going four-corners, pronto," Welde said. "That would have allowed us to control the game a little more and keep it close and take a shot at the end."

But Hopkins wouldn't allow that to happen, preventing Cabrini from scoring for the next four minutes. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, solved the triangle-and-two defense the Cavaliers were running, and though they only made two field goals of their own, went to the line for 14 free-throw attempts.

Schorr, who played all of three minutes in last Saturday's Centennial Conference final against Muhlenberg and came back to help limit Posse and grab nine rebounds, helped Hopkins pull away by hitting a jumper with 2: 58 left.

Then, there was Vaccaro's three-pointer and the three free throws by junior point guard Leslie Ritter that finished the Cavaliers, with Hopkins assuming a 56-46 lead with 1: 37 left.

CABRINI -- Cooper 0-5 0-0 0, Pierangeli 0-5 4-4 4, Barney 1-2 0-0 2, Virelli 4-9 0-1 9, Posse 6-10 3-4 15, Ryer 0-1 0-0 0, Crawford 5-18 2-4 12, Murphy 4-8 2-4 11, Reynolds 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 20-61 11-17 53.

JOHNS HOPKINS -- Butterwei 3-3 0-0 6, Ritter 2-14 8-11 12, Deaderick 0-6 0-0 0, Segers 2-5 0-0 4, Vaccaro 3-6 4-4 13, Fitzgerald 3-9 1-2 10, Malloy 3-8 2-4 8, Edobar-Osula 0-1 0-0 0, Sumser 0-4 0-0 0, Hamilton 1-5 0-0 2, Schorr 2-8 2-2 6. Totals 19-69 17-23 61.

Halftime--Johns Hopkins 34-25. 3-point goals--C 2-25 (Coper 0-3, Pierangeli 0-4, Barney 0-1, Virelli 1-5, Crawford 0-4, Murphy 1-5, Reynolds 0-3). JH 6-24 (Ritter 0-4, Deaderick 0-5, Vaccaro 3-6, Fitzgerald 3-7, Sumser 0-2). Rebounds--C 39 (Posse 14), JH 61 (Segers 13). Assists--C 12 (Pierangeli 5), JH 11 (Ritter 3). Total fouls--C 23, JH 15. A--230.

Pub Date: 3/04/99

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