SANTA FE SPRINGS - Coach Trisha Raniewicz had seen St. Paul High School's girls basketball team earlier this season, so she knew what to expect.
She also knew what her La Salle players needed to do to be successful against the Swordsmen.
"We have to take care of the ball," Raniewicz said before Thursday night's Camino Real League opener at St. Paul. "They live off turnovers. We have to limit their transition game. If we're not strong off the ball, they'll just feed off that."
It was a good game plan, but St. Paul didn't cooperate.
The Swordsmen rushed to a 15-0 lead before the Lancers even got a shot off, and with a stifling defense that all but shut down any hope of offense for La Salle, St. Paul breezed to a 78-33 victory.
"They're really good," Raniewicz said. "They're very talented, and they stick with what works for them, pressuring the ball."
La Salle's first shot was Jazmine Jenkins' attempt on which she was fouled and made one of two free throws to break the Lancers' scoring drought just over three minutes into the game.
St. Paul continued to a 27-8 lead at the end of the quarter, then ran off an 11-2 spurt to start the second period for a 38-10 advantage.
Sophomore Kimi Takaoka's 11 points, including a 3-point basket, helped make it the Lancers' best quarter but it wasn't enough to keep the Swordsmen from increasing their margin to 26 points (49-23) at halftime.
By then, St. Paul (12-5) was shooting 61 percent from the field (23-for-37) and had a 13-9 edge on the boards.
La Salle (4-11) committed 14 of its 25 turnovers and was outrebounded, 18-11, in the second half. The last six minutes were played in running time.
Takaoka led the Lancers with 22 points, but La Salle scored only 10 as a team in the second half.
Sophomore Andrina Rendon paced the Swordsmen with 23 points, including three 3-point baskets. Skye Savini added 13, eight of them in the first period.
"We got to play everybody, everybody is happy and that's good," St. Paul coach Robert Miller said.
If there is a down side to a 45-point victory, it was the number of close-in shots the Swordsmen missed, and free-throw shooting (2-for-11).
"Some of the shots we missed we shouldn't be missing, no matter who we're playing," Miller said. "Against a ranked team, that would be very costly."