There was a week in January when Mary Sanar was having "some problems" as women's sports information director at George Washington University. She was almost sure she was finished with the job. She took a week off in Philadephia to sort things out. The next Monday she was back at GW.
"I missed it," said Saner at the Catholic Invitational tournament last weekend. "The girls have been playing such good basketball, I was really anxious to get back."
Saner's attitude is common among area college women's basketball teams. In a neighborhood where Maryland has been the only kid on the block for five years, this year has brought wealth of enthusiasm over some rapidly growing programs.
The most notable growth has been at Georgetown, where the Hoyas are 20-2. Coach Francis Carr, who owes his success to "some heavier recruiting and betting conditioning," has gotten consistent play from guards Erin Reid and freshman sensation K.C. Comerford, who is scoring more than 20 points per game. Forward Abbie Dillon, averaging 18 per game, typified Georgetown's gutsy play when she broke her finger three minutes into a game versus La Salle last week, but scored 28 points anyway.
George Washington, currently 16-9, has been led all season by forward Trish Egan, who has crafty inside moves and a sweet outside touch. The Colonials, a second-half club all year, rely on the streak shooting of Carol Byrd.
Veteran Coach Bessie Stockard, in her first season at the University of the District of Columbia, has allowed the thrill of victory to infiltrate the Lady Firebirds. After having coached at American and Federal City, Stockard has put together a 20-5 season, led by smooth guard Gwendolyn Jones UDC has gotten flashes of brilliance from forward Alice Butler, who had 36 points and 31 rebounds against American Friday night, was held to two points and eight rebounds the following night against Georgetown and scored 40 last night against Bowie State.
Howard (9-8) is still in the growing-pains stage. Coach Tommy Lee, guiding the Bison to a better season than many predicted, has a freshman- and sophomore-laden team led by Carol Baylock, who "can't be stopped one on one by anyone in the city," according to Lee.
Navy (14-6) got off to 5-0 start, but skidded in January. The Mids have gotten superb offensive play from 1979 all-Met guard Colleen Cassidy, whose scoring average is over 18 per game.
After being 8-4, Catholic has slid to a 12:12 mark. Jane Connolly, whose dazzling passes and brilliant outside shot was attracting considerable notice, has gone cold in recent weeks but still is averaging 19 points per game.
American (8-12), playing four freshmen through most of its games, has gotten solid play from Sandy Thomas, who is scoring close to 17 per game. American's highlight came when it beat La Salle, 72-68, which beat Georgetown by 20 points.
Despite the improvement of several local teams, College Park still is the high-rent district. Maryland's 15-8 record and runner-up finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament is virtually meaningless when considering the 14th-ranked Terps.
"I don't go for won-lost records, I go for the national championship," said Coach Chris Weller. "I have a younger team than in the past and I've scheduled the best teams in the nation to get them ready. Only one of our losses came against a team not in the top 20. We have the worst record in the top 20 but the other coaches know what I'm doing. With our schedule, I daresay no coach wants to play us in the nationals. They would be scared with the competition we've had. I'm excited about our potential."