While Benet used some great help defense to slow one of the top scorers in the area, it was a hot Redwings shooter who ended up making the difference Thursday night.
Hinsdale Central junior Gabrielle Rush, hassled all night by a physical Redwings defense, attempted just 3 field goals in the second half and finished with 16 points. Meanwhile Benet's Emily Eshoo was making 11 field goals and 4 free throws to total a personal-high 29 points in a 64-55 nonconference win in Hinsdale.
"Just the (ball) movement really helped," said Eshoo, who helped the Redwings improve to 6-2 on the year while handing the 5-1 Red Devils their first loss of the season. "Our offense really works if we swing it around and if we set good screens we'll be open. That's how it worked out tonight and we got good shots."
Eshoo made sure to take advantage of those good shots, scoring 6 points in the first quarter and then connecting on a pair of 3-pointers to score 11 points in the second quarter as Benet erased a 15-13 deficit after one quarter to take a 30-25 lead at the break.
The Redwings then used a strong third quarter to take control. Emily Schramek, who made just 1 of 9 shots in the first half, nailed a 3-pointer and a short jumper on an inbounds play as part of a 19-12 Redwings surge in the third quarter.
With Schramek and Eden Olson teaming with Eshoo, the Redwings had too much firepower on the night for a Red Devils team that couldn't seem to get its offense going.
"That was our goal," Benet coach Peter Paul said when asked about making Rush's life difficult in the game. "Kathleen (Doyle) did an outstanding job and we helped tremendously on her."
Hinsdale Central coach Tom McKenna felt his team got away from its offense a little and didn't create the usual looks for Rush, who was 5 for 10 from the floor with a pair of 3s on her way to 16 points, after she averaged close to 25 points a game in the team's 5-0 start.
"We did a very bad job of running our offense and running our screens and we got frustrated," he said. "But it's an early-season learning experience."
The Redwings led 49-37 after three quarters and were able to hold off Hinsdale Central down the stretch thanks in part to Doyle's ballhandling skills that helped break the hosts' press and also led to some easy baskets late.
Rush expects her team to rebound from its first loss of the year.
"It was frustrating," she said. "We kept getting closer and then they'd pull away with those 3s. It was a frustrating game, but we can bounce back from that. This team has a lot of heart."