The last time St. Frances trailed a conference opponent by 16 points, the Panthers never recovered. Last night against No. 11 McDonogh, however, the top-ranked Panthers pulled together and pulled out a 54-44 victory.
The host Panthers used their press, picked up their rebounding and began attacking the Eagles' zone late in the second quarter. They carried that over into the second half, taking their first lead of the game on Angel McCoughtry's three-pointer with 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
Through much of the first half, however, the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game looked like a repeat of the Panthers' 56-39 loss to Roland Park on Dec. 17. As the Reds had done, McDonogh controlled the tempo, forcing the Panthers into a half-court game in which they fired off quick jump shots instead of working for open shots inside.
The Eagles' zone clamped down on McCoughtry, an agile 6-foot-1 forward and last season's All-Metro Player of the Year, holding her to just six points and three rebounds in the first half. McCoughtry, who was honored last night for scoring her 1,000th career point, boosted her game in the second half, attacking the basket to finish with 21 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.