Points were at a premium Thursday night, but Wheaton Warrenville South cashed in thanks to Mira Emma.
The sophomore point guard scored all 10 of her points, including a trio of 3-pointers, during the second quarter to wake up the struggling Tigers, who used outstanding defense to knock off host Glenbard North 41-20 in a DuPage Valley Conference girls basketball game in Carol Stream.
"My teammates found me," Emma said. "I knew we needed a spark.
"We were just trying to execute the offense, but it wasn't really working out. After a tough loss to Lake Park (Tuesday) it was kind of a struggle to come back."
Was it ever. The Tigers (13-8, 7-3) didn't score a basket until the 1:10 mark of the first quarter, when senior Jayne LaBelle scored on a drive to tie the game 3-3.
That triggered an 11-0 run that saw Emma bury consecutive 3-pointers to start the second quarter. The Panthers (9-11, 2-8) went 11 minutes between their first and second baskets. Another 5:37 elapsed between their second and third hoops.
"I felt our defense kept us in this game, kept us together," LaBelle said. "That's what we keep emphasizing.
"We really just struggled to execute on the offensive end, but our defense was really good."
This is nothing new for the Tigers, or indeed the Panthers, who have scored 44 total points in two losses to WW South this season.
"I told the girls it was good news, bad news," Glenbard North coach John Chamberlain said. "Lake Park beat them, but they're going to come out mad as hornets.
"I think they're the hardest-working team in the DVC. Wheaton North gives a ton of effort, too, but with what (the Tigers) do in looking for deflections and playing that zone, it really does give us fits. We cannot get into our sets."
Indeed, the Panthers turned the basketball over 29 times. The Tigers had 22 steals, with Emma getting 5, LaBelle 4 and Sarah Struebing 4 each and Maria Dohse 3.
"We struggled offensively the other day, so one of our thoughts tonight was, 'Let's see if our defense can help us get some easy hoops and sort of turn our defense into our offense,'" WW South coach Rob Kroehnke said. "We got off to a slow start, but I thought the end of the second quarter and the third quarter were just outstanding."
The great defense and patient offense eventually wore down the Panthers. After going scoreless in the first half, Tigers post player Jayla Johnson tallied 7 points in the third quarter as the visitors stretched the lead to 31-12.
Johnson finished with a game-high 13 points to go with 6 rebounds and 2 steals.
"They're real patient on the offensive end with multiple cuts and flashes," Chamberlain said. "You deny the first two or three and then the next thing you know they're getting layups because you didn't guard the fourth. That does give us a hard time."
Hannah Heier led Glenbard North with 5 points.