Hampshire junior forward Elizabeth Panzica wouldn't admit she had the best defensive game of her high school career Monday night.
If fact, she may have left it open to the idea that she could perform better. And if she does, watch out. The Hampshire record books could engulf in flames.
"It hasn't been my best," Panzica said of her 6 point, 6 steal, 5 rebound effort. "I think I've done better, I didn't feel I did too great."
Scary to think she won't accept it being a great performance and can do better, but Panzica had a team high in steals and was the ringleader of a defensive unit that saw both Jennifer Dumoulin and Michelle Dumoulin come up with 5 steals each as defense was the calling card in Hampshire's 57-27 Fox Valley Fox Division girls basketball win in Woodstock. It was Hampshire's fifth-straight win, sixth in seven games and it's been because of a Doberman-like defense that's allowed just 30.2 points per game.
The Whip-Purs (13-10, 6-2) could have been charged with basketball grand larceny with 21 steals off 24 Blue Streak turnovers, which in part help to hold Woodstock (5-14, 0-7) scoreless until the 5:55 mark of the second quarter.
"It's been keeping us in a lot of games," Hampshire coach Ed Haugens said of the defense. "The girls play hard, they trust each other and the more that they can trust each other as we go along, the better the defense works.
"The chemistry has been very good the past couple games. I think chemistry is key to winning basketball games."
During a 13-0 first quarter, Hampshire scored 9 points off the interception alone, 6 points coming off layups. Tiffany Bentley (8 points, 6 rebounds) knocked down a right corner 3-pointer off another steal, thus setting tone for the game.
"One of the things I like about our defense we're able to do when we pressure the ball is to anticipate and we can get some nice steals off that," said Michelle Dumoulin, who chipped in a game-high 13 points. "It's not just a one person thing, everyone is anticipating, everyone is on their toes and it was a good team effort on the defensive end."
Hampshire also dominated the boards, outrebounding Woodstock 41-22. The Streaks were held to just 6 points at halftime. At one point it was 40-8 in the third quarter, as the Whips' matchup-press and rebounding flustered the Blue Streaks
"If they can get those things accomplished, the defense works pretty well," Haugens said.
Grace Jakubowski chipped in 9 points. Elisa Wood added 8. And even though Samantha Okubo was the lone Whip-Pur who didn't score, she whipped up two assists to Wood that showed the unselfish, team effort Haugens wants.
"It's always been a team effort," Haugens said. "These girls understand they're going to win and lose as a team. There's no star athlete and that's what I like. I like that anybody can come in on any given night and be the leading scorer. They all know they're responsible for rebounding, playing hard defense and taking good shots and the girls have been very good about that."
Hampshire will need to be in that defensive groove come Thursday, as the Whip-Purs will be tested amply by Fox Division leader Grayslake Central.