Unsung Western Maryland put on a women's basketball clinic against Johns Hopkins on Tuesday night in Westminster, and the stunned Blue Jays could do nothing but go along for the ride.
The shock waves could be felt all the way back to Baltimore as three quick Green Terror guards picked apart Hopkins all night on the way to a surprising 73-59 dismantling of the Jays.
Junior Jen Piccolomini, freshman Kelly Cramp and sophomore Toby McIntire combined for 33 points with all-around performances that helped change the complexion of the Centennial Conference West Division standings.
Western Maryland and Franklin and Marshall are now in the driver's seat for the division's two playoff berths.
The once-streaking Jays have dropped to 9-4 overall in the Centennial Conference, 5-2 in the West Division and 18-6 overall.
The Green Terror has surged a half game ahead of Hopkins for second place in the West with a 6-2 record, and is 9-4 in the Centennial and 17-6 overall. Western Maryland also has the home-court advantage over the Jays in case a tie-breaking game for second place has to be played.
Veteran Western Maryland coach Becky Martin said yesterday: "In my 21 years of coaching I've never had a team like this. We can't run a half-court offense. We can only play a fast-paced transition game. There is good chemistry and a certain mix of players here that lends itself to the transition game."
Piccolomini, Cramp and McIntire are all effective on the fast break, and they are good rebounders and adept passers. Piccolomini leads the team in scoring with 13 points a game.
McIntire, a point guard, can go 1 for 10 from the field like she did Tuesday night against Hopkins and still draw high praise from Martin. McIntire leads the team in steals with 64 and she is tied with Cramp for the assist lead at 2.6 a game.
Martin believes her team has been hurt in past years "by taking the lower teams too lightly" and getting upset.
"Hopkins always beats the people they're supposed to and that's why they've made the NCAA playoffs a lot," said Martin.
Fisher breaks ground
Navy senior Justine Fisher became the first service academy women's athlete ever to be drafted by a professional sports team Monday when she was selected in the fourth round of the Women's United Soccer Association draft.
Fisher, Navy's all-time leading scorer, was chosen by the Washington Freedom, whose coach is Jim Gabarra.
Gabarra is the husband of Navy women's coach Carin Gabarra, which gave him a chance to watch Fisher play for four years.