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Belles topple Olivet 77-69

Steve Coyer | Tuesday, February 3, 2004

After seven straight losses against MIAA teams, the Belles needed an answer and fast.

They finally put the question to rest.

In a decisive 77-69 victory over Olivet College (7-13), the Belles (6-13) brought an end to their conference losing streak and received a timely confidence boost.

The Belles built a 28-24 halftime lead and played a consistent second half with an all-around team effort on their way to the win.

When the starters for the Belles started to tire, the bench came through and contributed a total of 33 points.

“The biggest positive to come out of our loss against Albion was the play of our bench,” Bellina said. “The key is to get all 14 players on at the same time.”

More than a few players were ‘on’ for the Belles against Olivet. Coming off the bench, Bridget Lipke had 11 points and five assists with Anne Hogan dropping in another 12 points.

Guard Katie Miller led the Belles with 15 points on 3-of-5 3-point shooting while Emily Pernotto scored six points and delivered six assists.

Center Amanda Johnston kept the game in reach for Olivet and had a dominating performance inside with 32 points and 12 rebounds. She also shot 14-of-15 from the free throw line

In an effort to stop Johnston in the paint, both Emily Creahbaum and Maureen Bush fouled out of the game early with both players seeing less than 20 minutes on the floor.

Creachbaum scored 10 points in 15 minutes before fouling out.

The Belles have struggled to make foul shots this season but shot 80 percent at the free throw line against Olivet, an improvement from past games where the team has shot under 50 percent.

After Olivet defeated Adrian College over the weekend, the Belles remained the only winless team in the MIAA.

“Olivet at home was probably our biggest game of the season,” Bellina said. “We were able to take care of business and play our best.”

Despite the critical win, the Belles still face two of their most challenging games this season.

The Belles will play Calvin (15-3) Wednesday and Hope (18-2) Saturday.