Howard, Loyola (Maryland) and George Washington won in the opening round of the Catholic University Invitational women's basketball tournament last night at Brookland Gym.

The fifth-seeded Bison easily defeated fourth-seeded George Mason, 74-58, in the opening game. The next game was a thriller, as sixth-seeded Loyola upset third-seeded American, 67-66, in overtime. Second-seeded GW beat seventh-seeded Catholic, 74-59, in the third game.

In today's second round, Loyola will play GW at 3 and Howard will meet Mount St. Mary's (18-3), which drew a first-round bye, at 5. AU and Catholic will play a consolation game at 1.

The host Cardinals started as if bent on an upset of the Colonials, racing to a 17-12 lead after 10 minutes. But GW responded to the challenge, outscoring the Cards, 29-7, in the final 10 minutes of the half to lead 41-24 at the break.

Trish Egan and Laurie Cann, with 12 and 10 points, respectively, led the first-half Colonial charge.

After falling behind by 20 in the second half, CU (4-13) rallied to cut the GW lead to 14 with 10 minutes to go. But the Cards never got closer.

Egan and Cann, leading a balanced attack, finished with 14 points apiece for the Colonials (12-10). Carol Byrd had 12 and Leslie Bond had 10.

Bernadette Kerley scored 15 points for Catholic and needs 11 more to break the 1,000-point barrier in her collegiate career.

Adrienne Moore's free throw with two seconds remaining in overtime gave Loyola its victory. Moore had been founded by the Eagle's Dara Smith while battling for the rebound of a missed AU shot.

Loyola (7-14) recovered from a 35-24 halftime deficit to tie the game, 60-60, on Gaby Nagle's free throw with six seconds left in regulation play.

Loyola made just nine of 37 shots (24 percent) in the first half. But AU, after shooting 52 percent before intermission, was 11 for 35 (31 percent) in the second half, helping the Greyhounds to come back.

Tina Prangley's 14 points led the Greyhounds, who had five players in double figures. Josie Zamolyi had 17 points for AU (8-12).

In the first game, Howard (7-11) led, 35-31, at halftime but shot 55 percent in the second half to break open the game.

Essie Haney, the leading Bison scorer, and rebounder, had 21 points and 13 rebounds, tops in the game. Debra Davis scored 13 and Julie Murphy and Jonetta Winters 10 apiece for Howard.

Lavon Jones scored 15 points for Mason (14-8).