Girls Basketball: Benet’s second-half run downs Waubonsie Valley
Updated: January 16, 2012 9:16PM
Benet was clinging to a two-point lead over Waubonsie Valley as second half started Monday night at the McDonald’s Shootout at Willowbrook.
Then Nicole Valentine made a steal for Benet. Then she made another steal. And another.
Within minutes, Benet had scored 15 straight points, part of a 26-3 run that propelled the No. 9 Redwings to a 56-37 victory.
The result extended Benet’s winning streak to 11 while snapping No. 7 Waubonsie Valley’s at eight.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, especially on the boards, because they’re a lot bigger than us,” Benet point guard Christen Prasse said. “But we held our ground and we fought a battle. I think we made a statement here tonight.”
Waubonsie led by as many as five points in the second quarter before the Redwings (15-4) rallied to take a 28-26 halftime as Lauren Malley drained a three-pointer just before the buzzer.
Benet decided to pressure Waubonsie’s guards, especially elusive 5-3 senior Becky Williford, and that resulted in the Warriors (15-2) turning the ball over 10 times in the third quarter. Valentine, who didn’t attempt a shot in the second half and finished with four points, had all four of her steals, including the three to start the half, during that spurt.
“They’re a lot bigger than us,” Valentine said. “They’re taller, so we knew we’re more of a ball-handling guard team, so we wanted to take away their ball-handlers. We knew that they had mainly just two.
“We’re actually longer than Becky so we can put some pressure on her. We put pressure on her and got some steals. Then we changed our defense and got a few more steals. It was all about changing it up and doing something they wouldn’t expect.”
With Valentine and the 5-10 Prasse leading the way, the Redwings flustered Williford with a half-court trap the likes of which the Warriors rarely see.
“At halftime we said we should try something different, see if we can put some pressure on the guards because they’re mostly post players, and it ended up working,” Prasse said. “We’re all a bunch of guards, so our biggest strength is running and pressuring and that’s what we wanted to use to our advantage. We outhustled this team.”
Benet scored 18 points off turnovers in the third quarter. Prasse tallied eight of her game-high 13 points in the second half and added four rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Malley, a 6-2 senior center, knocked down two three-pointers en route to a season-high 10 points to go with five rebounds. Sydney Prasse also scored 10 points and Madeline Eilers added nine points, all on treys, for Benet.
“No one on our team is greedy,” Prasse said. “No one on our team is trying to take over the game. We’re all just looking for the best shot, the best pass, anything. It’s like a team effort. We play as a fist, not a bunch of fingers.”
The Warriors, who mustered only two baskets in the second half after making 10 of 22 shots in the first half, were never able to utilize their considerable size advantage in the post. Neither Radford-bound 6-3 center Rachael Ross or 5-11 senior forward Tami Morice was able to get a shot off in the second half. Morice finished with nine points and Ross seven points and seven rebounds.
Gratia Brooks tallied eight points, Erica Johnson had seven and Williford six for the Warriors.
“The [Benet] guards were a little longer in their [wing] span,” Williford said. “They kind of deflected all of our passes, most of them in the press, and that’s how they got their easy transition baskets. We have to work on that.
“We might see them again in the playoffs, so we just need to learn from our mistakes. This game is over with. We need to focus on what’s next, but we have to make adjustments if we see them again.”