Western coach Tiffany Silver stressed one thing at halftime in yesterday's game against Riverdale Baptist: cutting down on turnovers.
Still the turnovers continued to hinder the No. 2 Doves as they gave the ball away 30 times - 15 in each half - in a 55-45 loss to The Washington Post's No. 1 girls team yesterday at the 13th annual Basketball Academy at Morgan State's Hill Field House.
"We've got to take care of the ball," Silver said. "We cut the lead from 16 to seven and then, four straight turnovers. It was like we worked really, really hard, but then each possession didn't mean enough to us."
The Doves (6-6) have gone 1-3 against the nationally ranked teams they've faced this season as the Crusaders (13-2), from Upper Marlboro, came in with the No. 13 ranking in USA Today.
Yesterday, the Doves hung in with the taller and deceptively quick Crusaders despite all those turnovers and a 39-30 deficit on the boards.
The Crusaders built their biggest lead with an 11-3 run for a 35-19 edge with 1:58 to go in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Doves pulled within 41-34 after Akeema Richards hit a 15-footer and then a free throw with 4:30 to go. But the Crusaders answered with a short jumper from Jazzmine Johnson (13 points) and a layup from Tianna Hawkins (17 points) to break the Doves' momentum.
The Doves, who got 12 points from Richards, will be back in action today in the Basketball Academy's final day against No. 9 Catonsville at noon. The Crusaders will try for their third straight Academy win over No. 3 City at 1:30. Beforehand, No. 8 Digital Harbor takes on Randallstown at 10:30 a.m.