LARGO -- No. 1 Western came to the IAABO Tournament looking for tough competition. The first team it drew, Watkins Mill, included last year's Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year Lisa Ostrom.
Even though Ostrom, a 6-2 guard, scored a game-high 27 points, her squad did not have the balance or the transition game to keep up with the running Doves (6-0).
Despite a slow start, Western rolled past Watkins Mill, 58-35, yesterday at the 21st annual IAABO Girls' Invitational Christmas Basketball Tournament at Prince George's Community College.
The Doves' competition should get tougher. This tournament includes No. 2 Hammond as well as five D.C.-area teams ranked in the Top 10 by The Washington Post.
Next up for Western is Good Counsel, a 62-45 winner over Duval yesterday. Good Counsel (9-1) is ranked No. 3 by the Post. Today's second round tips off at 6 p.m.
Yesterday, Western needed a third-quarter blitz to pull away from Watkins Mill (4-2) for good.
After struggling with its offense early, Western hit its stride in the third quarter, picking up the pace and running up a 39-18 lead.
Chanel Wright, who led Western with 25 points and 15 rebounds, scored eight straight in a 12-0 run that gave the Doves a 21-point lead. The 6-0 junior guard scored 12 in the quarter as the Doves went on to lead by as much as 43-19.
The Doves continued to roll through the fourth quarter, shooting 47 percent from the field for the second half.
"We switched the defenses a lot and played an up-tempo game," said Western coach Breezy Bishop. "We had to play an up-tempo game, because we had a lot of trouble in our offense. We must have missed 20 layups from lack of practice and timing."
Western ran out to an 8-0 lead as the Wolverines turned the ball over 10 times and managed just two points in the first quarter. Every time Western threatened to blow the game open, however, Ostrom brought the Wolverines back.
Ostrom, headed to Vanderbilt next year, pulled the Wolverines within 10-7 early in the second half and kept them within nine at halftime. With a good jump shot and strong moves inside, Ostrom scored 13 in the second quarter.
"We knew that we couldn't stop her," said Bishop. "All we wanted to do was contain her and shut down everybody else on the team."
That strategy worked as the Doves used switching defenses to hold the rest of the Wolverines' lineup to just eight points. Maggie McDermott, a 5-10 forward averaging 13 points, was held to just three.
Watkins Mill coach Pete Baron said he was happy just to be within nine at the half.
"We knew we were playing a nationally-ranked team [No. 10 in USA Today], and in the beginning we couldn't pass the ball or catch the ball. The fundamentals broke down," said Baron. "But Western is just a super team. I can't feel badly losing to them at all."
In addition to Wright, Kim Smith also had a strong outing, finishing with 14 points, eight assists and eight steals for the Doves.