After barely slipping by No. 10 Milford Mill on Thursday, Western's No. 2 girls basketball team felt it had something to prove yesterday against No. 9 Woodlawn at the ninth annual Basketball Academy at Morgan State's Hill Field House.
"[Thursday], we felt we hadn't played to our best ability," said Western center Whitney Cunningham. "We did a lot of talking on the bus and in the auxiliary gym while we were warming up. We said we no longer wanted to let our coach down. We decided we had to prove ourselves and live up to all the faith he has in us."
The Doves (6-3) did just that, finishing off a Warriors team struggling with foul trouble, 66-52.
The Warriors (7-3) used their press to rally early in the second half, cutting a 35-23 lead to 35-29 on three quick baskets on feeds from Brittney Taylor. But the Doves smothered the rally with a 10-0 run as Lavon Woods scored eight of her 17 points.
Western coach Donchez Graham said after the 44-43 win over Milford Mill that his team lacked the killer instinct. That made an impression on the Doves, who were determined not to let the Warriors get back in the game.
Cunningham, a 6-foot-3 center who had seven points, four rebounds and three blocks, said the Doves turned a corner with yesterday's victory.
"We felt our team was unstoppable," Cunningham said. "The only people that can stop us is us. Once we get that in our brains, nobody can touch us."
After the Doves' 10-0 second-quarter run, the Warriors never got closer than nine points. It didn't help to have 6-3 center Kim Carr and All-Metro guard Taylor carrying four fouls.
The Warriors, led by 19 points from Milan Heard, were in foul trouble right from the first quarter when Carr, 5-11 forward Ashley Long and 5-10 forward Shanell Williams each picked up three fouls.
With Carr and company sitting on the bench, the Warriors didn't have the inside presence to contend with the Doves' inside tandem of Cunningham and 6-1 forward Zhondria Benn, who finished with nine points and 13 rebounds.
Woodlawn coach DeWayne Burroughs said the foul calls - 25 against the Warriors - stifled his team's run-and-gun offense.
"You can't get into the flow when every time you start running, they call a foul," said Burroughs, who had five players with three fouls by halftime while the Doves had one. Taylor, who stayed in the game with four fouls, finished with 12 points, four assists and six steals.
For the Doves, Mishcha Minor scored 10, including two three-pointers.