Benet stood toe-to-toe with visiting Marian Catholic for three quarters Saturday afternoon, but in the end the defending Class 4A champions' pedigree prevailed during a 58-47 loss in Lisle.
The Redwings (16-9, 3-5 East Suburban Catholic) hung around thanks to hot shooting early from Emily Schramek, who had 3 first-half 3-pointers, and the aggressive play of Emily Eshoo in the second, but were ultimately done in by 17 turnovers and an inability to get defensive stops.
"If we just clean up our act and play better defense we can shoot well enough to be in any game," Benet coach Peter Paul said. "It's just a matter of, are we going to do that? Are we willing to do that?"
The Redwings did well against full-court pressure, but their offense stagnated while running their half-court sets against the Spartans' athletic defenders, especially in the third quarter, which the Redwings began with four straight turnovers.
Despite the sloppy play in the third, Benet actually cut into the 8-point halftime deficit to enter the fourth down 38-31.
As their offense came alive, though, so did Marian Catholic (19-4, 6-0). The Spartans outscored the Redwings 14-9 over the first three minutes of the fourth, including a pair of momentum-killing 3s from DePaul-bound senior Ashton Millender, who finished with 16 points, and highly touted junior guard Teniya Page.
"They're great defenders, great scorers," said Eshoo, who finished with a team-high 14 points. "Just all the little things added up. We didn't execute well."
With the Redwings hanging on by a thread, the game effectively ended when Benet point guard Kathleen Doyle fouled out following a turnover against the half-court press.
"We let it slip away," Doyle said. "We were in it in the third quarter, and then the fourth quarter kind of just fell apart on us.
"It's horrible just watching your team (after fouling out). I definitely wanted to be in there."
Without her the deficit ballooned to 18, as each team's reserves entered the game.
Page led all scorers with 22 points and was displeased with her shooting performance afterward. Page missed her first four shots, but got on track with a backdoor alley-oop layup served up by Millender. Page went on to make all four of her 3-point attempts.
She also helped to contain Benet's do-everything point guard, Doyle, on defense.
"I just knew that coming into this I had to have a lot of energy and be ready to basically do everything," Page said. "Doyle does literally everything: She's always active, always hyper. It was a good matchup."
Paul used the game as a measuring stick for his team.
"If we want to win a sectional that's the type of team you got to beat," he said. "We just came up short. It's good for us."