Girls Basketball: Naperville North takes down Wheaton NorthNaperville North's Delaney White gets fouled by Wheaton North's Jaquala Hillman during a shot in Wheaton on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 1, 2011 10:14PM
As a senior leader, Naperville North guard Shannon Bushman knows that her teammates look to her when a big play is needed.
And she relishes that role.
“Honestly, I love it,” Bushman said. “It’s nice to know that the team counts on me to contribute and give the team what they need.”
Bushman was at it again in Thursday’s 50-41 win at Wheaton North in the DuPage Valley Conference opener for both teams.
A lead that had been as large as 12 had been cut to two, but with 6:07 left in the fourth quarter, Bushman made the play of the game.
Wheaton North sophomore Chrissy Baird hauled down one of her game-high 21 rebounds under the Naperville North basket. But Bushman knew where Baird was going to go with the outlet pass and stole it. She scored the basket, was fouled, and drained the free throw to start an 8-0 run that swung the momentum back to the Huskies and helped them pull away for the win.
“I think when Shannon made that play, that was the game-changer for us,” Naperville North coach Jacquie Discipio said. “I told her at the end, ‘Thank you for being a competitor.’ That was what we needed. That shifted the tide and we were back in control again. We owe that to her. She totally changed the game.”
Naperville North (3-3 overall, 1-0 DVC) closed the first half on a 13-2 run to take a 31-19 lead into the second half. But a 10-0 run that included six points from Baird helped close the deficit to 37-35 early in the fourth quarter.
But when Bushman made her big play, the bottom fell out for the Falcons (2-4, 0-1).
“That was the swing,” Wheaton North coach David Eaton said. “The momentum was starting to come our way. We were getting back into it. We cut it down to two. We were right there to have a shot. That one little play, that was a big swing.”
Bushman led all scorers with 16 points despite shooting only 4-for-13 from the field. She was also forced to handle the ball more with point guard Zoe Swift in Georgia for a club soccer tournament.
Swift was initially not going to come out for basketball this year, but has played in one game before having to miss this game.
“I’m so excited,” Bushman said of having her longtime teammate back. “When we thought she wasn’t going to play, we thought it was going to be a little rough. Now we just have to incorporate Zoe into it so we can get more pressure and get our team moving more.”