The Westminster Owls have had a knack of getting off to fast starts this season.
Last night against Quince Orchard was no exception.
The No. 18 Owls jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never trailed in cruising to a 46-34 win over the visiting Cougars.
The final score wasn't a true indication of how things went. The Owls led 43-20 after three quarters and coach Bernie Koontz got the opportunity to use his entire bench for most of the final quarter. It's a trend Koontz wouldn't mind seeing more often.
"When you win and are able to get everyone playing time, it makes the whole team that much better," he said.
"We look to jump out to an early lead; that's something we talk about. We have to learn to keep the intensity the entire game. We're a young team and getting some early wins has given us confidence."
Junior forward Beth Lister led the way for the Owls with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Junior guard Lauren Kadlubowski added 13 and senior Julie Backof also was a force inside with seven points and nine boards.
The Cougars (1-4) missed their first five shots and turned the ball over five times before Liz Kristian sank a pair of free throws with 3:20 left in the first quarter to give them their first points.
The Westminster lead could have been bigger, but the Owls (4-1) failed to convert a pair of early layups and a number of other shots. It wouldn't matter.
The Owls dominated the boards and their tight man-to-man defense continually forced the Cougars into costly turnovers that turned into Westminster points.
Backof and Lister dominated inside and their reliable rebounding allowed the Westminster guards to release and score easy layups. Junior guard Cassandra Conklin benefited with eight first-half points, including the Owls' final four points of the first quarter.
"Julie and Beth do a real nice job inside. They are both good athletes and go to the ball very well in controlling things inside," Koontz said.
Backof converted a pair of offensive rebounds into points in the second quarter to help build a 29-17 halftime lead.
The lead grew to as many as 23 in a third quarter dominated by Lister and Kadlubowski, who combined to score all of the team's 14 points in the period.