St. Francis turns back St. Edward
There was an undeniable sense of separation after Katie De Craene splashed home her second 3-pointer of the game.
The St. Francis junior forward had the only two field goals from beyond the arc in the Spartans' girls basketball home opener Thursday evening in Wheaton against St. Edward.
St. Francis' fourth-quarter cushion bulged to its largest of the contest in its ultimate 43-32 victory.
"My coaches really support me," said De Craene, one of three players in the game to finish in double figures. "I practice all the time. They encourage me. When I'm open, I just go for it."
The Metro Suburban Conference game became a test of wills with both teams struggling throughout the contest to generate significant offensive consistency.
De Craene, who finished with 11 points, converted her second 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Spartans a 36-24 lead nearly halfway into the final quarter.
The schools were an identical 25 percent from the field with their combined 6-for-25 shooting in the opening quarter.
St. Francis (2-0) held a single-possession lead, but the Green Wave woes only intensified with 8 more consecutive misses from the floor to start the second quarter.
"We struggled to get into a groove," St. Edward coach Michelle Dawson said.
But almost six minutes into the second quarter later, St. Edward (0-2) received back-to-back buckets from Delaney Nolan and Brooke Biggins.
St. Francis nursed a 19-13 lead into the intermission.
Rebounding in general and greater number of shots attempted in particular would propel the Spartans to a second straight win to begin the truncated season.
St. Edward would never come closer than a two-possession game after the break.
Maggie Culver was a principal reason.
The senior guard energized St. Francis with her infectious play in the aftermath.
Time and again, the Green Wave inability to clear the defensive glass would prove fatal.
"We really crashed the boards in the second half," said Culver, who led the Spartans with 13 points.
Culver was intent to compensate for the absence of her starting backcourt mate.
"With our point guard (Kate Chaparro) out, we had a lot of new players to varsity," Culver said.
"The freshman (replacement) Dolly (Smith) has really been stepping up," said De Craene.
Biggins was valiant for the Green Wave in the second half in finishing with a game-high 14 points.
Fellow junior Alexia Alfaro added nine for the Wave.
"We have a great group of girls," Biggins said. "We are breaking off the rust. I'm happy with the way we are playing."
"We need to work harder in not allowing teams to get second-chance shots," Dawson added.
Chapparo is expected back next week.