Tanysha Gardner-Walls knows what her Waubonsie Valley coaches like to harp on.
"Defense, defense, defense," the senior said in describing how the Warriors defeated Glenbrook South 51-43 at the Bill Neibch Falcon Holiday Tournament semifinals in Wheaton on Wednesday. "That's all I can say. Both coaches, especially (assistant coach Dave) Saurbaugh, are always on us about our defense. If we mess up on offense, as long as we get into our defense and get it right back, then we'll be fine."
The Warriors were in fine form most of the night, taking an 18-14 lead after one quarter and extending it to double figures, where it stayed much of the rest of the game.
"We came in with high intensity. We finally got the concept of don't play to nobody else's level. Come out and play our game all four quarters and the first half was probably the best first half we've played all season," Gardner-Walls said. "We have a tendency sometimes not to come out the way we're supposed to."
"Much better start, much better finishes, overall offensively we were much better than we were last night," Warriors coach Kim Connell said. "Defense is our staple. We had a couple of lapses there at the end. We went brain dead. But other than that it was a good four quarters."
The Warriors earned a rematch of last year's tournament final against Hersey, which defeated host Wheaton North in two overtimes in the game before Waubonsie Valley's.
"We're going to try to avenge our 30-point loss last year," Connell said.
Tami Morice hit five 3-pointers to lead the Warriors with 15 points. Center Rachael Ross added 14 points and point guard Becky Williford had 10.
"They're big, they're quick, they're athletic. They've got a great shooter. They're a great team," Titans coach Steve Weissenstein said. "There's a reason they're the No. 1 seed. They might not lose another game the rest of the year until the state playoffs. They're that good a team."
Abby Keller led the Titans (10-5) with 11 points, but Waubonsie Valley (13-1) held Ali Shaw to 3 points a night after she scored 21.
"Their defense was excellent," Weissenstein said. "They did a really good job of taking Ali Shaw out of the game."