Defense hasn't always been a strength for Aurora Christian in the early going of the 2012-13 girls basketball season, but you would never have guessed that watching them Wednesday night.
The Eagles' full-court trap forced Chicago Christian into 10 first-quarter turnovers. They never allowed the Knights to score double digits in any quarter, holding them to 12-of-37 shooting from the field (32 percent) for the game and coasting to a comfortable 40-25 victory in Aurora.
"We've been working on it a lot," Eagles junior Alyssa Andersen said of the team's defense. "A lot of people have been breaking our full-court press so tonight was a really good practice to go real hard."
Aurora Christian (5-3, 1-1 in the Suburban Christian Conference) led 15-5 after the first quarter, forcing Chicago Christian (3-5, 1-2) into mistake after mistake while Andersen did most of the damage on the offensive end with 8 points.
When Alex Hultine drained a 3-pointer the Eagles had a 15-3 lead, and they stayed up by double-digits the rest of the way.
"We stress getting out of the gate strong, and a lot of time when we press it keeps them more engaged and more focused too," Eagles coach Jerry Tokars said.
Sophomore Natasha Brown got going in the second quarter as she started to control the boards on both ends. She finished with 11 rebounds -- after grabbing 21 in a game last week -- using her quickness and effort more than her 5-foot-8 size.
"I just see what my goal is and then I just go for it," Brown said. "I just make sure I box out the person and go for it."
Leading 25-13 at halftime, the Eagles scored the first 5 points of the third quarter starting with Melissa Moser following her own miss for a second-chance basket. The Eagles wound up outscoring the Knights 13-4 in the third quarter to lead 38-17 -- easily a big enough cushion to make a 2-point, 8-turnover fourth quarter have no impact on the outcome.
Anderson and Brown tied for team scoring honors with 12 points each, and sophomore Taylor Eaves added 6.
"It's going so much better than last year." Andersen said. "It's a real confidence-booster."
Anna Persenaire led the Knights with 12 points.
"Turnovers and we just couldn't put the ball in the basket," Chicago Christian coach Linda Stuursma said. "We couldn't buy a basket. We had good looks, I don't think the defense kept us from scoring, the girls just couldn't put the ball in the basket. Just an off-night."