La Salle 73, Howard 64

La Salle sophomore Jill Marano started making calls yesterday, and kept making them, even on the bus ride to the Explorers' game with Howard. The 15 family members and friends that the Arundel High product corralled into Burr Gymnasium last night were rewarded with the best performance of Marano's career, a 27-point outburst that led La Salle to a 73-64 victory.

"I was on the phone the whole time," Marano said. "It was great to have some people cheering for us on the road."

Howard fell to 0-8 with an effort that roundly disappointed Bison Coach Cathy Parson. The team's leading scorer, guard Asia Petty, managed 10 points, and senior forward Courtney Kirk's 19 were not enough.

"When you're 0-8, you at least expect to never give up," Kirk said. "That wasn't the way we played."

La Salle (4-3) used a 9-0 run to take control early in the second half with a 47-38 lead with 14 minutes 44 seconds remaining. After losing a six-point lead in the final minutes of the first half to enter halftime tied 32-32, the Explorers held the Bison to 33 percent shooting in the second half.

"We just never got the big play we needed," Parson said.

Part of that was the defense of freshman guard Davineia Payne on Petty, who scored nine points in the first half but was held to one point in the second. Petty, who averages a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference-best 19 points per game, was held to 4-for-14 shooting.

"We came in concentrating on shutting down Petty and Kirk," La Salle Coach John Miller said. "We didn't do so well on Kirk, but Davineia did a great job on Petty, who is a really good player. Anytime you can take away the other team's main threat like that, it's fantastic."

Marano, starting for the first time this season, had not shot well over the Explorers' past two games (losses to Villanova and Marquette), making 6 of 16. Last night, she repeatedly cut hard to the basket, and made 11 of 14 shots.

"We let her get to the foul line way too much," Parson said.

Her confidence buoyed by the free throws, Marano's fortune from outside improved, making 2 of 3 three-pointers, much to the joy of her personal cheering section, which was a sizeable portion of the 150 fans in attendance.

"It was wild," Marano said. "To be honest, those shots just seemed wide open."

* OHIO STATE 73, VIRGINIA 60: Courtney Coleman led the host Buckeyes with 19 points and nine rebounds as they held off a late comeback by the Cavaliers.

LaToya Turner put in 16 points, Ashley Allen 14 and D'wan Shackleford 10 for Ohio State (6-2).

Brandi Teamer and Cherrise Graham each scored 18 for the Cavaliers (4-4), and LaTonya Blue added 11.

Virginia trailed 43-19 at halftime, but started the second half with a 24-6 run and eventually got the margin down to 56-55 with 3:29 to play. Ohio State put the game away by scoring the next 13 points, six of them by Turner.

Virginia led once at 2-1 after 50 seconds, but the Buckeyes got three straight baskets to go ahead 7-2 and never trailed after that. An 8-0 run after Virginia's second field goal made it 15-4 with 15:13 left in the first half and the Buckeyes kept extending the lead for the rest of the period.