Fans of unusual numbers and stats could have some fun breaking down what took place Thursday night at West Chicago, but none of the odd stats brought any fun to the Wildcats.
Wheaton Warrenville South prevailed 34-21 after limiting the Wildcats to just 5 points in each of the first three quarters, and then 6 in the fourth after Izzy Bruce converted a steal into a three-point play in the final minute that got the hosts past the 20-point barrier.
Even so, some strong defense by the Wildcats had them trailing just 6-5 after one quarter and just 12-10 at the half even though they shot just 3 of 8 from the floor through two quarters.
A couple more crazy stats are what did in West Chicago as the Tigers' Kasey Gassensmith scored 11 points herself in the second half to equal her opponents' entire team total, while the Tigers owned a huge advantage on the boards, 25-9. Gassensmith, who was the lone player to score in double digits with 15 points on the night, finally gave Wheaton Warrenville South some breathing room with 7 points in the third quarter to lift the visitors to a 22-15 advantage heading into the final quarter.
After a fastbreak basket by Tonjanna Bishop had West Chicago (14-9, 6-5 DuPage Valley Conference) trailing just 17-15 late in the third, Caitlin Schwark dropped in a big 3-pointer for the Tigers and then Gassensmith threw in a spinning, falling-down buzzer-beater to give WW South a 7-point lead after three quarters.
"That was kind of an accident," she said of her off-balance basket. "I heard them doing the countdown and I just put it up. But it was our defense that was key. That's what we strive for. So when our offense is down we've still got defense."
For much of the night both teams' offenses were a little down, but the Tigers (17-7, 7-4) were helped by 10 offensive rebounds and some solid free-throw shooting, making 10 of 12.
"I'll tell you, I didn't know what to think at halftime when it was 12-10," said Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke, whose team dropped a low-scoring affair at home to the Wildcats earlier. "But it's kind of been a typical game for us."
WW South kept a close eye on Wildcats guard Claire Monroe, who missed some time Thursday after hurting her foot and who was just 1 of 2 all night with a 3-pointer.
"No lead's safe, especially when it's 3 to 5 points against these guys with Monroe able to hit 3s," Kroehnke said. "Tonight it was defensive stops, defensive stops, defensive stops, and then we made some nice plays on offense in the second half."
West Chicago coach Kim Wallner was disappointed that her team - despite 8 points and 6 rebounds from Jessica Baids - was hurt so much on the glass.
"They had 10 offensive boards and we had 8 defensive boards. That's the ballgame," Wallner said. "We didn't get a body on them and they're so active. We rebounded even last time (against WW South) and that was the difference."
Gassensmith said her team came far short of her coach's goal in the first half, but the Tigers did still manage to win.
"Coach wanted us to get 12 points a quarter, but we got 12 in the first half instead," she said.