No. 1 Western gets serious, 86-31 victory 4A NORTH GIRLS


Western coach Breezy Bishop noticed her players being lackadaisical during the pre-game warm-up to last night's Class 4A North Region semifinal against visiting Dulaney.

So Bishop cut the warm-up session short and took her players off the court for a motivational speech.

And when it was time to play, the top-ranked Doves were all business.

Western scored 23 of the game's first 24 points as it breezed to an 86-31 rout of the fourth-seeded Lions.

The defending 4A state champion Doves (23-0), seeking their third consecutive regional title, will play host to Lake Clifton in the region final tomorrow at 2 p.m.

All-American senior forward Chanel Wright scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Western, which has won 30 straight games dating back to last season.

Kimberly Smith added 18 points and six steals and Tesha Tinsley and Lisa Jackson contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Doves.

Bishop said her toughest challenge is keeping her team focused against teams they are expected to rout.

"They were laughing and being silly during warm-ups, so I took away their warm-up time," Bishop said.

"I took them to the front part of the school and showed them pictures of some of the great leaders we have had here at the school. I told them to have pride and remember the people who laid the foundation at Western."

Whatever the reason, the Doves certainly seemed inspired.

Western was nearly flawless in its execution of its motion offense, and the Doves' swarming fullcourt press smothered the Lions (15-7).

The Doves also thrilled the crowd by their precision passing on the fast break, especially Smith, with her array of slick no-look and behind-the-back passes.

Western built a 25-3 lead after the first quarter and extended it to 53-11 at halftime. The Doves were 24-for-40 (60 percent) from the field in the half, including a 13-for-16 (81 percent) shooting performance in the second quarter.

To say Western put on a clinic wouldn't be too far from the truth. At least Dulaney coach Melba Williams thinks her team learned a lot from the game.

"It was a good learning experience," Williams said. "We welcomed the opportunity to play against high-level competition because we can grow from it. I wish we could play one more game to see how much we learned in just this one game."

Dulaney, which got 11 points apiece from senior guard Lisa Rutledge and junior point guard Dawn Will, will not get that chance, however. Instead it will be Western that will move on and face Baltimore city rival Lake Clifton, a team the Doves have beaten twice by a combined 53 points.

"It will be a war," Bishop said of tomorrow's game. "Lake will be up for the challenge. I hope my team is more focused Saturday than they were today or it will be Lake going to the final four and we'll be home."

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