By RICHARD MARKEY
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
The Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team wasn't going to dwell on it.
With a 52-32 loss at the hands of No. 1 nationally-ranked Incarnate Word Academy, the Lady Raiders watched a 57-game winning streak come to a halt Friday night at the Gully Transportation Tip-off Shootout at The Pit.
However, they proved they can play with the best.
"I don't think the final score reflected how well we played in that game," QND senior guard Kristen Gengenbacher said. "I'm so proud of my team right now. We worked so hard and did a lot of things right. We learned a lot of things from this game. That's the kind of competitive level we want to be at. I'll take games like that over winning by 20 every game."
QND (4-1) trailed 17-4 after the first quarter, but countered the would-be knockout punch by outscoring Incarnate Word 23-16 in the middle two quarters.
"We had a great effort. We were right there," QND coach Eric Orne said. "In the third quarter, against the No. 1 team in the nation, and you're down a couple of points with an opportunity at home. I'm very proud of our effort."
It was hard to imagine QND making a run after shooting 0-11 from the field with six turnovers in the first quarter.
"We talked about having a short memory," said Gengenbacher, who finished with 10 points to lead the Lady Raiders alongside Mary Beth Hugenberg. "We knew they were going to go on spurts. We knew some of us were going to get swatted two or three times. We were prepared for those things to happen and we didn't get discouraged."
Three straight transition layups, two from Hugenberg and one from Cassidy Foley, closed the gap to 21-20 midway through the third quarter, but that was as close as the Lady Raiders would get. The Red Knights carried a 33-27 lead into the third quarter before closing the game 19-5 with a 2-3 zone defense and interior attack.
"They're really scrappy, so we had to settle ourselves down," said Incarnate Word forward Napheesa Collier, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. "We recognized they were shorter than us so we just tried to push it in. Then we went zone and it seemed to slow them down so we stayed with it."
The Red Knights hit 7 of 9 field goals and turned it over twice in the fourth, after coughing it up 23 times through three quarters. QND, on the other hand, hit 1 of 11 fourth quarter field goal attempts.
"(Incarnate Word) wins state championships. They made the adjustments and started taking care of the ball," Orne said. "Once they did that the game kind of slowed for us. We got methodical offensively and didn't find any good shots."
Even with the winning streak stoped, the Lady Raiders are still focused on their goals.
"We went into this season knowing it would be different ... " Gengenbacher said. "... We're not worried about streaks or undefeated seasons. We're worried about becoming a better team, learning from our mistakes and ultimately being at Redbird at the end of the season."