"We were 19 of 28 on 2s and 12 of 26 on 3s,'' Doc Scheppler said. "Nobody can beat us when we do that. Nobody.''
The third-seeded Panthers (25-3) play at No. 2 Carondelet (26-4) at 6 p.m. Saturday. Carondelet got the higher seed over Pinewood on the strength of a head-to-head win, 67-59, on Jan. 9.
"I feel we'll play better than the first time we played them," Pinewood's Kaitlyn Leung said. "We usually do when we play with a chip on our shoulder.''
St. Mary's had been burned by Pinewood's 3-point shooting in the last two postseason matchups between the teams. So the Rams came out with the game plan to try to take the 3 away.
In response, the Panthers made the decision to take the ball to the hoop. And oh boy did they ever.
Pinewood initiated the evening's proceedings with a layup drill. Basket after basket on drives to the rim and on beautifully-executed pinpoint passes to backdoor cutters and roared to a 42-19 halftime lead.
And just to emphasize, Pinewood's performance took place in the NorCal Open Division quarterfinals against, by definition, one of the six best teams in Northern California.
As the Panthers successfully attacked the rim, the 3-point shot started becoming available. Eight of their 12 3-pointers came in the second half, five in the fourth quarter. Pinewood shot 57 percent overall for the game.
Leung led Pinewood with a career-high 23 points. Normally more of an unsung hero, a complementary player, a passer and defensive hustler, Leung was looking for her shot Wednesday and had four 3-pointers among her nine field goals.
"I just wanted to do my part,'' Leung said. "Get open and hit my shots.''
Stanford-bound Hannah Jump scored an easy 20, making two 3s, and Courtni Thompson had 17, with three 3s, in a seemingly flawless outing.
Jump also had 11 rebounds, recording her second double-double in the past three games.
Point guard Annika Decker didn't score, but had a great game passing to open teammates, finishing with seven assists. She went down with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Pinewood, which already lost one point guard, Una Jovanovic, to a knee injury, cannot afford to lose Decker.
She was hobbling around using a crutch after the game to keep her injured foot from touching the ground, but in a good mood.
"I'll probably just tape it up,'' she said. "Adrenaline will take care of the rest.''
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