Meghan Waldron is determined to not let Maggie Dansdill down.
A week after losing her running mate to a season-ending knee injury, Waldron and No. 4 Wheaton Warrenville South churned out a workmanlike 41-39 win over No. 14 Benet on Thursday at the Benet/Naperville North Tournament in Lisle.
It was WW South's first game without Dansdill, and wasn't always a thing of beauty. Bottom line, it was a win.
"With Maggie out it's a killer," said Waldron, who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists, "but I think if we work half as hard as Maggie we'll be good, and if we work as hard as Maggie we can be great. It's a huge loss, but I'm going to dedicate the rest of the season to her."
A tough week emotionally for the Tigers (8-2) got a little more agonizing in the latter stages of the first quarter. Kelly Langlas, who missed all of last season with a knee injury and just returned two weeks ago, was bumped on a dribble and went down.
Langlas went to the bench, her knee wrapped, but didn't return to the game. WW South coach Rob Kroehnke admired his team's gutty effort down two players.
"If you'd told me we'd be down Maggie and Kelly, and we'd be playing Benet, I'd be a little worried," Kroehnke said. "It just shows how hard these kids work. They just kept plugging away. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't one of our better ones, but that's because of Benet."
Predictably with these two teams, it came down to the last possession.
An Emily Eshoo 3-pointer pulled Benet (8-5) within 41-39 with 17 seconds left. At the other end WW South missed a free throw. After a timeout WW South double-teamed Benet's Christen Prasse, who skip-passed to Emily Schramek. Schramek missed a good look from 3, got the rebound, but misfired on a 10-footer as time expired.
"They weren't going to let Chrissie beat them," Benet coach Peter Paul said. "In general we had two good looks."
"I was definitely holding my breath at the end," Waldron said. "We had two fouls to give, but we didn't give them. We probably should have."
WW South led 14-11 after a quarter behind 9 first-quarter points from sophomore Olivia Linebarger, and 23-20 at half. The Tigers' lead peaked at 31-22 on two Waldron free throws midway through the third quarter, but Benet rallied with a 7-0 run, Prasse hitting a runner and 3 and Schramek a jumper.
It was hardly the free-wheeling, fast-paced game these two teams are capable of playing. WW South did well in controlling the defensive glass, becoming the first team to hold Benet under 40 points. Linebarger had 10 rebounds, Melinda Franke 8 and Diamond Thompson was a presence inside with 4 blocks.
"It wasn't always really smooth offensively, but we just grinded out," Kroehnke said.
Benet's loss was its third straight, and the Redwings aren't without their injury issues. Eden Olson (sprained ankle) and Jenna Martin (stress fracture) both were in street clothes Thursday.
Still, freshman Kathleen Doyle continued to impress with 12 points and close defense on Waldron, Prasse scored 8 of her 11 in the second half with her future St. Louis coach in attendance, and Eshoo scored 10 points.
"We battled as hard as we could," Paul said. "We had our opportunities, which is all you could ask for."
In Thursday's first game Providence blocked a Glenbard West shot in the final seconds, holding on for a 32-31 win. Caitlin Soane scored 11 for the Hilltoppers (3-7).