Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Mount St. Joseph's teams improved rapidly


Men 17-7 in 2nd year; freshmen lead women

BY JEFF CARLTON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        One is a second-year program and the other starts four freshmen, yet the strides made by the men and women's basketball teams at the College of Mount St. Joseph's have come in leaps and bounds rather than baby steps.

        The coaches of both teams hope that trend continues into the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament, which starts tonight.

        The men's team (17-7, 6-6 HCAC) plays host to Anderson (Ind.) College, and the women's team (12-12, 5-7) visits Hanover (Ind.) College in first-round games tonight.

        Men's coach Larry Cox helped the Lions avoid any growing pains in guiding them to a 13-12 record last year, the first season for the men's program.

        The team dropped its first-round tournament game last year, a fate Cox plans to avoid this time around. The Mount defeated Anderson twice during the regular season.

        In both contests the Lions scored more than 90 points, not unusual for a squad that averages 86 points a game. The team forces an up-tempo game, defending with a full-court press and boasting a rotation that goes 10 deep.

        “We will definitely make our bench a factor,” Cox said. “We like to come at people in waves.”

        The statistics support Cox's philosophy. With 12.5 points a game, power forward Jared Franz is the Lions' leading scorer. Five other players average more than eight points a game.

        “That's just the way we play,” said Joe Toney, the starting small forward. “We're a pressure team that keeps our guys fresh and tries to wear out the other guys.”

        Women's coach Melissia Patterson starts a lineup even younger than Cox's. Four freshmen and a junior start for the women's team, which is seeded fifth in the tournament.

        This is Patterson's second year coaching The Mount. She took over a team that had won just one game two years ago. Last year, the team won three games.

        The Mount returned just two players from last year's squad, but won nine more games.

        The Lions chances in the postseason improved significantly with the return of Rebecca Petty. The freshman forward missed most of the conference games with a broken foot.

        Before the injury, Petty climbed as high as sixth in Division III in blocked shots.

       



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