Execution.

That's what Plymouth Whitemarsh coach Dan Dougherty preached to his girls' basketball team at practice on Thursday.

It's what he talked about in the locker room before Friday's big Suburban One League American Conference showdown with Upper Dublin and on the sideline during timeouts, too.

Execution.

It's what would give the Colonials the edge against the Cardinals, he said.

And so, PW did just as they were told, executing on defense, breaking the press and knocking down high percentage shots. The result? A 50-37 win over Upper Dublin, only the second time the Colonials have defeated the Cardinals in Dougherty's tenure.

"Coach said it was a game of execution," junior guard Lauren Fortescue said. "We knew what they were going to do. They knew what we were going to do. We just had to be smart."

After six straight losses against Upper Dublin (3-2 overall, 1-1 league), PW (5-0, 3-0) came out energized, following the lead of speedy junior guard Taylor O'Brien, who scored seven of her team's first 14 points.

"It was incredible," O'Brien said. "After going three years and not being able to beat this team, to finally defeat them is such a great feeling. It's hard to describe it."

O'Brien set the tone early, and Fortescue followed suit, hitting some big shots to keep the Cardinals out of reach. Together they combined for 29 points as the pair took turns frustrating Upper Dublin with the ball in their hands.

Then it was the Colonials defense that took over and an efficient press break that helped them pull away. In particular, it was Lauren Coscia, who scored 14 points down low in transition who kept the Cardinals from getting back in the game.

"I think we were really under control," Fortescue said. "With the press we passed the ball back and forth well, saw the court. We knew what we had."

What do the Colonials have now? An undefeated record after the first five games of the season and early control of their league after downing the squad that has had a stranglehold on it in recent years.

Even better? P.W. is allowing opponents to score just 38.2 points per game.

Talk about execution.

Upper Dublin 10 4 11 12 - 37

Plymouth Whitemarsh 14 7 12 17 - 50

UD: Demi Balasa 14, Jackie Vargas 10, Kara Grebe 6, Nicole Kaiser 4, Josie Barrett 3

PW: Lauren Fortescue 16, Lauren Coscia 14, Taylor O'Brien 13, Ali Diamond 7 --

@ka_harman