Chelsea Bowland is an anomaly when it comes to basketball.
In a sport dominated by offense, Bowland prides herself on her defensive prowess every time she touches the floor. She consistently guards top players and ball-handlers, and she does so at an efficient and effective rate.
As usual, Bowland was exceptional on the defensive end of the floor on Wednesday night, and her play, combined with a stellar offensive performance from Zoey Barnett, proved to be the difference in Madison-Grant’s 57-27 rout of the Wes-Del Warriors on Wednesday evening.
From start to finish, Bowland guarded Wes-Del point guard Andrea Stoughton, the Warriors’ best ball-handler and who they run their offense through, and shut her down, holding her to just one made throw in the course of 32 minutes.
“When we watched them on film, she was their dominant ball-handler,” Madison-Grant Head Coach Brandon Bradley said. “It looked like they were very uncomfortable every time she didn’t have it. Our thought with that was if we could eliminate or minimize her touches, they would be less comfortable offensively.”
No matter what Stoughton tried, Bowland was right with her step for step. With Stoughton unable to set up the offense, the Argyll defense put on a clinic, forcing a remarkable 32 turnovers and allowing just nine total field goals.
“That’s my biggest thing, not letting their leading scorer score,” Bowland said. “I feel like I did a decent job of it tonight. When they barely score anything, I know that I did a good job.”
Madison-Grant led from the onset, building an 11-6 first quarter lead due in large part to Barnett. The senior forward scored six of the Argylls’ 11 points, establishing her presence in the paint from the opening tip. Barnett led the Argylls with 20 points and six rebounds in the contest while also coming away with five steals.
“She was much more opportunistic and much more aggressive than she’s been,” Bradley said. “My first two years, I couldn’t get seven words out of her, and she came back this year much bubblier, and she’s more aggressive in practice. Tonight, she was aggressive the entire time.”
Madison-Grant’s defense was even stronger in the second quarter, forcing 13 Wes-Del giveaways, including eight in a row to start the frame. Many of those turnovers led to easy offense, as the Argylls increased their lead to 22-12 at halftime.
The Argylls began to pull away in the third quarter, starting the second half on a 13-0 run and continuing to force Wes-Del’s offense into miscues and mistakes. Azmae Turner scored nine of her 11 points in the third quarter, and Barnett added six more points to out Madison-Grant up 43-18.
Madison-Grant held the Warriors off the scoreboard for over four minutes to begin the third quarter.
“In the third, we looked a lot better, a lot more disciplined, and a lot more aggressive,” Bradley said.
The Argylls carried their momentum into the fourth, not allowing the Warriors to get any closer than 22 points the rest of the way.
Along with Barnett’s 20 and Turner’s 11, Daya Greene scored eight points, while Bowland chipped in offensively as well, scoring seven points, including a 15-foot jumper which found nothing but net.
“In the past years, I really haven’t shot anything,” Bowland said. “But I feel like this year, I am getting better at it, and I feel more comfortable doing it.”