Two of the premiere Catholic Girls Athletic Association basketball teams took turns making mistakes and looking impressive before 13th-ranked O'Connell found the solution to finally pull away from 10th-ranked Seton for a 51-40 victory yesterday at O'Connell.

O'Connell (14-1, 6-0 in the league) perhaps wrapped up the game in the latter stages of the second period and early part of the third period by going on a 20-2 spree to take control, 34-22. But Seton (12-3, 6-1) regrouped to make a brief run before succumbing.

O'Connell's remedy to each Seton run was junior forward Erin Hollister (20 points), who broke up several Roadrunners rallies with either a turnaround jumper in the lane or short jumper.

In the trenches, patience was the key for the Knights, who often turned to Hollister or freshman guard Christie Finney (11 points) to come through with clutch baskets.

"We were trying to go inside and then work it back outside because we have a lot of guards that can shoot," said Hollister. "We just took our time more than usual and went out there to get them. We got pysched up for a while, but they {Seton} don't give up, so we had to keep up our momentum."

With 4:04 left in the third period, Seton finally began to execute on offense, working the ball around the Knights' shunting zone to man-to-man defense to find an open player.

Trailing, 34-24, Seton's Zhoowan Jackson hit a jumper from the corner, but O'Connell came right back on a five-footer by Eileen O'Brien to push it the lead to 36-24.

The Knights built a 42-28 lead entering the fourth period before Seton mounted its final run. Stephanie Gilmore (14 points) and Sheila O'Hare each converted a pair of free throws to draw the Roadrunners within 42-32 with 4:50 left.

O'Connell Coach Jim Spirodopoulos tried a stall offense to slow the Roadrunners. But the strategy backfired at first, as the Knights turned the ball over. Seton, however, couldn't convert on three opportunites and Hollister's strong turnaround jumper from the side put the Knights in control to stay, leading by 44-34 with under 2 minutes remaining.

"We were forcing passes that I don't think we needed to force and they were beating us on the boards," said Seton Coach Ginny Pontious. "We didn't get position and we were standing around looking. I just don't think we had the patience that we usually do."