WALLA WALLA - Shooting 25 percent from the field isn't anything to write home about.
But for the DeSales Irish girls basketball team, it was drastic improvement in less than 24 hours and led to a 49-18 victory over University Prep of Seattle during the consolation round of the D.A. Davidson Christmas Classic at Whitman College's Sherwood Center Wednesday afternoon.
"It's not where we want it to be," Irish coach Tim Duncan said of his players' shooting touch. "We can get better. But the improvement today was dramatic on the offensive end."
Of course, improving on Tuesday's shooting performance during the opening round of the tournament wasn't exactly a major challenge. DeSales shooters found the mark just nine times in 70 attempts from the field, 13 percent, in a 32-24 loss to Overlake.
Duncan was beside himself after that dismal showing, and he probably wasn't smiling when the Irish misfired on their first five shots Wednesday and fell behind the Pumas 4-0. But with the score deadlocked at 4-4 and 2:48 remaining in the first quarter, DeSales junior Claire Konen dropped in a 3-pointer that ignited an Irish bomb barrage and turned her coach's frown upsidedown.
Junior Chantel Blanc followed Konen's 3-pointer with one of her own with 1:39 on the first-quarter clock. Twenty-nine seconds later, sophomore Brigit Lyons connected from downtown. And after Lyons sank a pair of free throws with 38.9 seconds remaining, Blanc stroked another trey at the buzzer that boosted DeSales to an 18-4 lead heading to the second quarter.
DeSales' long-range attack subsided in the second period, but the Irish sank 7-of-8 free throws and built a 33-8 lead at the intermission.
Sophomore Ali Zander joined the 3-point party in the third period, but her basket at the 3:10 mark proved to be DeSales' only points of the quarter as the Irish shot 1-for-13 and possibly started Duncan's stomach churning again.
But 5-for-18 shooting in the fourth quarter, which included 3-point baskets by Konen and Blanc, settled things down once again as DeSales logged its fifth victory of the season against just that one defeat. The Irish met Echo, Ore., this morning at 11:30 after the Cougars suffered a 69-26 loss to Columbia-Hunters in one of Wednesday's championship semifinals.
The Irish sank 7-of-28 3-point attempts on Wednesday compared to 2-of-37 in Tuesday's loss to Odessa-Harrington.
"Twenty-eight is probably a pretty good number for us," Duncan said of his team's 3-point attempts. "Thirty-seven is probably a little high."
Blanc led a balanced Irish offensive with nine points. Erin Giusti, one of two seniors on the DeSales roster, added eight points and a game-high eight rebounds. Zander also scored eight points.
Tejal Angolkar led the Pumas with five points and Katie Compton and Ariana Wetzel gathered in six rebounds each.
University Prep took a 2-7 season record into today's 1 p.m. consolation-bracket game against Emerald City League rival Overlake, which lost to Weston-McEwen 60-27 in Wednesday consolation play.
DeSales 49, University Prep 18
DESALES (49) - Konen 2-3 0-0 6, Higgins 1-6 0-0 2, B. Lyons 1-5 2-2 5, Giusti 2-9 4-8 8, Blanc 3-6 0-0 9, Wujek 1-3 0-2 2, Moberg 0-2 0-0 0, Crowley 0-3 0-0 0, Zander 1-4 5- 8, A. Lyons 1-7 2-2 4, Ferrel 2-7 1-1 5. Totals 14-55 14-21 49.
UNIVERSITY PREP (18) - Afromowitz 0-3 1-2 1, Compton 0-4 1-2 1, Angolkar 2-9 0-0 5, Wilson 0-1 0-2 0, Hujoel 0-4 2-4 2, Solovy 0-1 0-0 0, Western 0-4 0-00, Wetzel 1-1 1-2 3, Dominguez 0-1 0-0 0, Beard 2-6 0-1 4, Sanford 0-1 0-0 0, Hadac 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 6-36 5-13 18.
DeSales 18 15 3 13 - 49
University Prep 4 4 7 3 - 18
3-point goals - DeSales (Konen 2, B. Lyons, Blanc 3, Zander), UP (Angolkar). Total fouls - DeSales 15, UP 15. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - DeSales 47 (Giusti 8), UP 37 (Compton 6, Wetzel 6). Turnovers - UP 20, DeSales 13.