McMECHEN - If there was a play that illustrated Weirton Madonna's dominance against Bishop Donahue best on Monday night, it came early in the third quarter.
After the Blue Dons' Isabella Anile hit 1 of 2 free throws to give her team a 57-24 lead, Anile literally stripped the ball away from a Bishops player and sprinted the other way for an easy layup.
It was a scene that played out many times in Madonna's 63-24 season-opening victory against Bishop Donahue at the Father Raymond Jablonski Gymnasium. And it's one Madonna coach Don Ogden expects to see many times in the weeks ahead.
Weirton Madonna’s Isabella Anile (22) guards Bishop Donahue’s Kelsey Schau on Monday in McMechen.
''I have a great group and they played well,'' Ogden said. ''It was a great team effort. If everyone gets in, it makes practice the next day go a lot better.''
Defense was the name of the game for the veteran Blue Dons, who held the youthful Bishops to 20 percent shooting from the floor (8 of 40) and scoreless until the 1:45 mark of the opening quarter.
''We knew coming in (Madonna) was going to be good,'' Bishops coach Don Gillis said. ''This is one of the top two or three teams we'll play.
''We are young and sometimes talented. But they just rocked our boat.''
Anile scored seven of her game-high 23 points during Madonna's 13-0 spurt to start the game.
After Donahue cut the lead to 13-3, Madonna went on another run - this time a 19-3 spurt - that made the score 32-6 midway through the second quarter.
All five of Madonna's seniors starters got in on the act early, as did plenty of reserves. Ogden cleared his bench and all but two players scored.
Kaitlyn Conner added 10 points for the Blue Dons, who led 39-11 at halftime.
''Early on, I thought we played solid, well-disciplined defense,'' Ogden said.
''We talked at halftime about taking too many risks and that we needed to get back to just playing solid defense.''
Even though Bishop Donahue scored 11 points in the third -the most of any quarter in the game - Ogden saw improvement.
''Now, we have to go back and look at where we need to improve,'' Ogden said. ''They say the biggest improvement comes between the first and second games. We'll look at the film and go from there.''
Selena Ghaphery paced the Bishops with 12 points.
''We have a lot of work to do,'' Gillis said. ''We're young and green and this was definitely an eye-opening experience for us.
''I'd like to mimic (Madonna) in a couple of years.''