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Wheaton North off to big conference start
By Stan Goff | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 11/29/2012 11:17 PM

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The statement was made loud and clear.

Wheaton North and senior star Mandy Traversa opened DuPage Valley Conference girls basketball play Thursday night at Naperville North hoping for a quick start and to serve notice that the Falcons plan to have an impact on the league race this winter.

With Traversa scoring 13 points in the first quarter, the Falcons (4-2, 1-0) charged ahead 26-10 after one quarter en route to a commanding 77-36 victory.

“We really wanted to make a statement this game,” said Traversa, who connected on four 3-pointers while scoring 19 points despite limited minutes in the one-sided second half. “Just the fact that it’s finally here, we wanted to make a statement right now. I think we did that tonight.”

With Traversa drilling 5 of 7 shots in the opening quarter — including a pair of long bombs — the visitors grabbed quick leads of 10-2 and 19-4 against a Huskies team missing point guard Zoe Swift, who was attending a soccer event.

“In warmups I felt great,” she said. “I just want to help my team as much as I can. Hitting those 3s gives the team sparks and it’s a wonderful feeling.”

Naperville North (2-4, 0-1) was not feeling so great, struggling with a swarming Falcons defense that created 26 turnovers, many of which were quickly turned into baskets on the other end.

“We talked about coming out aggressive and working hard on defense,” Falcons coach David Eaton said. “We got out early and made some shots. We really shot the ball well in the first half.”

Wheaton North followed up its big first quarter with a 22-5 run in the second quarter to take a 48-15 lead at the half. Traversa had 16 points at the half while Chrissy Baird added 8 and Reilly Stewart 7 through two quarters. The Falcons shot 17 of 27 in the first half and the hosts went 6 of 28 while digging too deep a hole.

But Huskies sophomore Kayla Sharples saw to it that the Huskies fought hard until the end despite the fact that the outcome had long since been determined. The 5-foot-10 forward finished the night with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 4 steals.

“We didn’t really execute any of our plays and our shots were off,” Sharples said. “Toward the end we just kept each other up and did a lot of talking. We should have done that more early on. I think the next time we play them it will definitely be better competition.”

Baird and Abby Watts each tallied 11 points for Wheaton North to join Traversa and give the team three players scoring in double figures. For the Huskies, Candice Gustafson had 6 points and Delaney White and Lauren LoLordo each scored 5.