Benet has won a lot of games this winter but the Redwings were still searching for a signature victory.
They got it Wednesday night, overcoming a slow start and torching the twine over the last three quarters to upset visiting No. 18 Marist 78-67 in East Suburban Catholic action in Lisle.
After shooting just 3-for-20 from the floor in the first quarter, Benet made 22 of 34 the rest of the way, including 9 of 13 from three-point range and placed all five starters in double figures.
“They shot the lights out of the basket, that’s for sure,” Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly said. “Three is more than two and they were hot from the three-point line, and we weren’t. I don’t think they missed.”
The RedHawks (20-9, 5-3) came into the contest on a hot streak having won seven of their last eight and early on it looked like that would continue as Leah Bolton scored six early points to give Marist an 11-3 lead.
Benet had to play half the game without leading scorer Christen Prasse, who picked up two early fouls and then a third in the second quarter.
But guard Eden Olson played the role of unlikely savior. The 5-8 junior scored nine points and had nine rebounds in the first half as the Redwings (18-9, 4-4) pulled ahead 33-29 at halftime.
Olson wound up with her first career double-double. She had 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, both of which were career highs, and four assists, despite battling inside against the bigger Redhawks.
“We’re a smaller team, so I really knew that I had to step up, especially with Chrissy out,” Olson said. “Marist is a big team – their smallest player is my height – so I knew I had to rebound and get after it.
“I was getting through the creases and the holes and they weren’t really boxing me out, so I just attacked the boards and I got them.”
The rest of the Redwings heated up in the second half, especially in the decisive third quarter when they made 10 of 15 shots and outscored Marist 24-17 to extend the lead to 57-46.
Benet worked its motion offense to perfection, patiently waiting for its shooters to get open and then finding them with regularity.
Sophomore forward Emily Schramek provided the biggest spark, scoring all 17 of her points after intermission after missing all five of her shots in the first half. Schramek tallied 13 points in the third quarter, sinking five straight shots, including three consecutive three-pointers from the right corner.
“In the second half we were on shooting,” Schramek said. “In practice we dedicate a lot of our practice to shooting, so that shows on the court. I just keep shooting because I know they’ll eventually go in. I just have to forget about the bad shots.”
The Redwings also forgot about their propensity for giving up leads.
“All this season, if we’ve ever had a lead, we’ve come out in the third quarter weak and always let them back in,” Schramek said. “We haven’t had that upset yet this year where we beat a team ranked higher than us, and we were determined to do that tonight.”
Benet made 10 three-pointers, with Prasse and sophomore guard Emily Eshoo both sinking two and Olson and freshman Kathleen Doyle one each. Doyle’s gave the Redwings their largest lead, 65-49, with 5:51 left in the fourth quarter.
“They were better than us tonight,” Connolly said. “We just couldn’t defend them.”
Eshoo had one of her best all-around games yet with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. She was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, where her team made 18 of 21.
Doyle added 14 points, three assists and two steals, while Prasse had 12 points, five boards and two assists and Jenna Martin chipped in five points and five boards.
Bolton led Marist with 19 points and four steals, while JeTaun Rouse had 18 points, six boards and five steals and Brooke Wyderski added eight points and nine rebounds. But the RedHawks were only 4-for-21 from three-point range and 25-of-69 overall.