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The Maui Invitational in Hawaii provided the first opportunity to see if Loyola Marymount is the kind of team it used to be, and if Indiana freshman guard Damon Bailey is the kind of player he's supposed to be. The answer in both cases is, not yet.
Loyola Marymount's first three games under new coach Jay Hillock suggested that it may be a while before the Lions are burying opponents under a ton of points, as they did so often under Paul Westhead, who moved on to coach the Denver Nuggets in the NBA. Loyola Marymount's opening-round game was a ragged 100-93 loss to West Coast Conference rival Santa Clara, a team the Lions had beaten eight consecutive times over the last three seasons. The Lions' offense was more effective the next night against Northeastern, but the Huskies beat them at their own game, 152-123. On Sunday, Loyola really got rolling with a 162-129 win over Chaminade.
Loyola Marymount played without injured guards Tony Walker and Tom Peabody. More important, however, was the absence of departed Lion starters Bo Kimble, Per Stumer, Jeff Fryer and, of course, the late Hank Gathers, who died during a game on March 4. Without those players, Hillock, who spent five years as Westhead's assistant at Loyola, said his team's half-court offense had a "frantic" look. To say the least. The Lions left Maui knowing they have work to do.
The same is true of Bailey, the focus of so much publicity that he got a vote for the AP's preseason All-America team before he even played his first game. He proved himself to be a good freshman guard—nothing more, nothing less. Certainly, Northeastern coach Karl Fogel wasn't particularly impressed after Bailey had five points, six assists and five turnovers in Indiana's 100-78 victory over the Huskies last Friday. "To be honest with you, he was just another guy who played," said Fogel.
Indiana coach Bob Knight conceded that, against Northeastern, Bailey "didn't cut well. [He] looped and played at a pace he can't play at, [not] at this level of competition." But Bailey started again the following night, in a 73-69 victory over Santa Clara, and responded with 12 points and eight assists. In Sunday's final against Syracuse, a 77-74 loss, Bailey ended up with 10 points. All in all, a satisfactory beginning.
DISTAFF DUNK WATCH
Nice girls do dunk, according to a new poster that shows Southern Cal's 6'5" freshman Lisa Leslie doing exactly that. We didn't know the matter was in doubt. In any case, Leslie is the heavy favorite to become the second woman in NCAA history to dunk in a college game. The first to do it was 6'7" Georgeann Wells of West Virginia, in 1984.
"I think it will come," says Leslie. "It's just a matter of when the right situation arises. I'm not going to go out looking for a chance, but when it comes, I'll be ready. It's not that big a deal to me, but if it brings more attention to the women's game, then great."
Leslie, who has been dunking since the ninth grade, didn't get a chance to jam in USC's opener, but she did score 30 points in an 88-77 upset of Texas on Sunday. And she's not especially concerned about the possibility that someone might beat her to the first dunk of the season. Still, it could happen. Virginia, for instance, has four players with designs on dunking. Katasha Artis, a six-foot freshman, has dunked before in an organized game, most recently in a 72-point performance as a senior at South Shore High School in Brooklyn last season. Tonya Cardoza, a 5'10" forward, and twins Heidi and Heather Burge, both 6'4�", have also been flirting with the feat.