DeKALB – The DeKalb girls basketball team jumped on Northern Illinois Big 12 cross-conference foe Ottawa early and never relented in a 53-34 rout Tuesday.
DeKalb’s defense was the main factor in the dismantling as the Barbs forced 18 turnovers and led throughout the contest.
“It is all on the defense,” sophomore forward/center Madelyne Johnson said. “That’s how we get to our offense. If you get a turnover on defense, then you go to offense. Our whole game is based on defense.
“We stayed at our own pace, we didn’t let them control the game and that’s what we have to do to win all of our games.
The Barbs (8-0) finished with eight steals compared to Ottawa’s one. The turnovers led to fast-break opportunities for guards Brittney Patrick, a freshman, and senior Courtney Patrick.
Johnson shot a perfect 3 for 3 from the 3-point line to finish with a game-high 12 points. She also had three rebounds, a steal and one block.
“I think this year our offense is more flowing, more game-like,” Johnson said. “We get to play our game and it’s not set after set so I feel we get into the flow of things where we can just play basketball and do our thing. If your open, you can shoot it. If you have a lane, you can drive.”
DeKalb jumped out to a 5-0 lead on one of Johnson’s 3-pointers and a steal from senior Rachel Torrres that turned into a layup to Courtney Patrick.
Ottawa (5-3) fought back with a 3 of its own from junior guard Cassidy Rice and a layup from senior Jalessa Kindred to tie the game 5-5.
The Barbs pulled away with an 11-2 run led by a Torres runner and an offensive rebound putback and free-throw conversion from junior forward Courtney Bemis.
“We’re very good defensively,” DeKalb coach Chris Davenport said. “If we’re struggling early defensively, we’re usually struggling offensively as well. We set the tone.
“Offensively, we’ve been working on a zone offense lately. That’s the second time we’ve seen someone pack a zone in on us and it’s going to continue to happen. We have to make shots and it’s all about shooting with confidence.”
After heading into half with a 28-16 lead, DeKalb continued to stalk the Ottawa offense, creating points as the Barbs started the second half on a 7-0 run.
The lead was extended to 46-28 by the end of the third.