Lady Trojans beat Masuk, 70-42
After being owned by Masuk for many years, the hosting Lady Trojans defeated the Lady Panthers in convincing fashion on Tuesday, 70-42. This was Weston's second straight win over Masuk.
"We've come a long way as a team and played our best game [of the year] against Masuk on Tuesday night," Lady Trojan senior captain Brittany Swanson.
While this may have the second straight win for the Lady Trojans, longtime followers might have been shocked by the outcome and assumed it was Masuk who won in a lopsided victory, based on how their tilts used to end, going all the way back to the early 80's.
In the first quarter, it appeared as if the Lady Panthers still owned Weston with speedy sophomore Michelle Wu (10 points) wreaking havoc for the hosts with her quickness. Masuk's largest lead was five but the Lady Trojans hung in there and dominated the rest of the way to raise their record to 9-4, 5-3 in the SWC. The Lady Panthers dropped to 6-7, 5-3.
"We played well and I was very happy with the kids on both sides of the ball," Weston coach Pat Cole said. "I thought our shooting was on and the kids made good decisions."
Cole is now 2-0 against Masuk legendary coach Dave Strong, who compiled a 686-142 record in his 34-year tenure. Masuk's gym is named after Strong.
"We were very pumped up because we beat them last year and we want to make SWCs this year," Swanson said.
When the Lady Panthers had a 16-11 lead and a chance to return to their dominant ways over the Lady Trojans, they got neutralized. Swanson (22 points, four three-pointers, four rebounds, one assist) scored five straight points to tie it, 16-16 with 1:19 remaining in the first quarter, first by hitting a layup from junior Dakota Sloop and then swishing a 3-pointer from junior Christina Welsh.
"I worked on my form and it finally clicked," Swanson said.
Junior Hannah Hutchins (15 points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal) swished a trey to give the Lady Trojans the lead for good, 19-16, with 16.2 seconds left, which was the score after one quarter. Hutchins was also deadly from the perimeter and nailed three 3-pointers. Welsh (12 points, three rebounds, eight assists, 11 steals), who looked like a cross between WNBA point guards Becky Hammon and Lindsay Whalen, set up Hutchins.
"I tried to penetrate the defense and get to the open space and I was able to work the angles," Welsh said.
Masuk sophomore Kelly Zazuri's (nine points) layup made it 19-18 early in the second quarter but Weston closed out the quarter with a 19-1 run and led 38-19 at the half. Welsh sparked the defense, which forced 22 turnovers, 11 in each half, and made her thefts look easy. One time, she ripped the ball out of a Masuk player's hands and went in for the easy layup.
"I was trying to be aggressive and anticipate," Welsh said. "Many times, my teammates pressed and it put pressure on the other team to make bad decisions, which made it easier for me to make the steals."
She converted two other steals into coast-to-coast layups and hit a 3-pointer.
"I tried not to think about my mechanics and I tried to shoot to make it," Welsh said.
Sophomore Ellie Martin (10 points, 14 rebounds, one blocked shot) controlled the glass for the Lady Trojans and helped them win the battle inside.
"We were all boxing out and went for the rebound wherever the ball went," Martin said.
Martin nailed a trey and was a scoring threat as well.
"I tried to post up down low and Christina and Hannah made good passes, which made it easier for me," Martin said.
Weston's lead ballooned to 39 points, 66-27 with 7:26 left in the game. Cole then started to use his backups and Masuk was able to cut the lead.
Senior captain Jessica Welsh (six points, one assist) hit a few shots for the Lady Trojans and Sloop (five points, three rebounds, two assists) made her presence felt inside. Senior captain Natalie Odierna (one rebound, one assist), sophomores Lianna Hursh (one rebound) and Sarah Schwartz and freshman Morgan Moubayed also contributed.
The Lady Trojans hopes this win propels them into future games.
"It's good for our morale and our mindset," Cole said. "It will help us build our confidence."
Swanson said, "I feel confident with everyone on the court. If we continue to play like that, we'll be successful."