Wheaton North's Chrissy Baird didn't expect an easy win for Wheaton North on Tuesday night at Metea Valley, but she was not at all surprised to see the Falcons play well.
But when the Falcons played really well, their nonconference battle in Aurora turned into a surprisingly easy 60-34 triumph, giving Baird and her teammates five straight wins.
"We've been playing really well recently," said Baird, who scored 15 points. "We play really, really hard and together all the time. I couldn't ask for a better team. It's been a real fun season and I'm happy to be a part of it. So something like this Ö it's just been awesome."
Wheaton North used a 16-0 run in the first quarter to take command early, then added a 16-2 run in the second quarter on the way to a 36-19 lead at the half. While the Falcons (12-6) were once again solid on defense, Mustangs coach Kris Kalivas didn't like the way her team played early on.
"They took the floor and they wanted to win. And we did not," said Kalivas, whose team fell to 10-8 with the loss. "We threw the ball away early and we didn't get back on defense. They got easy transition points. We gave them momentum immediatelyfrom the tip."
Metea Valley actually led 3-2 early following a 3-pointer by Lisa Logan, but the Falcons answered with the two huge runs, as Kelly Thornton knocked down a trio of 3s, Emmy Gryna added a 3, and Baird and Emari Jones combined for 15 points through two quarters.
Jones and Thornton also keyed a Wheaton North defense that forced 26 Mustangs turnovers in the game and made Metea sharpshooter Jenny Voytell have to work extra hard for her team-leading 15 points.
"I'm impressed with the way our kids played, and we've got finals going on too," Wheaton North coach Dave Eaton said. "That's tough, but I thought they did a nice job."
Eaton said the Falcons, who like to run a fast-paced transition game, didn't want to allow the Mustangs to play their half-court style.
"That's the thing with them is you try and get out front and make it a full-court game with them," he said. "In a half-court game they are very, very good.
"We didn't want them to make us sit back and play a half-court game. They've got a good 1-2-2 and they trap well out of it. We didn't really want it to become a half-court game. I think that's the style they are really, really good at."
Baird and Thornton each paced the Falcons with 15 points, while Jones added 10 points and 8 rebounds. For the Mustangs, Voytell was the lone player to score in double figures, but Taseandra Parker did have 8 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.