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Creachbaum scores 18 to beat Kalamazoo

Bobby Griffin | Thursday, February 19, 2004

A strong first half and solid defense throughout the game proved to be key for the Belles Wednesday night, as they defeated Kalamazoo 64-59. Led by Emily Creachbaum and Maureen Bush, the Belles controlled the pace for most of the game and improved their record to 7-17 overall and 2-11 in MIAA conference play.Saint Mary’s shot 44 percent from the floor, including 48 percent in the second half. They out-rebounded Kalama-zoo 35 to 29 and shot 88 percent from the line.Following two easy baskets to start the game from Kalamazoo forward Ashley Riley, the Belles went on a tear, going on a 10-0 run including two wide open threes from Creachbaum.Creachbaum played outstandingly for her third consecutive game, scoring 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds. She faced tough defense all game, and Kalamazoo (13-11, 5-8) did a great job of keeping the ball out of her hands down low. After leading 29-23 at halftime, the Belles went cold to start the second half and Kalamazoo went on a 15-0 run.Creachbaum’s two free throws with 12:10 remaining snapped the Kalamazoo hot streak and allowed the Belles to regain their tempo.A Saint Mary’s 8-2 run following a technical foul by Kalamazoo coach Michelle Fortier put the game back in the Belles’ hands for good.Bush hit a crucial lay up late in the second half to push the score to 60-55. Bush had 13 points and 5 rebounds.Saint Mary’s held forward Ashley Riley to 10 points on 5-7 shooting. The Belles played great defense all night on Riley, who came into the game leading Kalamazoo in scoring with a13.5 points per game scoring average.Mary Brown, who scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from three-point range, led Kalamazoo. Her offense kept Kalamazoo in the game in the second half, as she made several key baskets during the Kalamazoo 15-0 run. Not only is the win important for the Belles, allowing them to regain some confidence going into their regular season finale Saturday – it was the last home game of the year for Saint Mary’s. Katie Miller, who was honored before the game as the lone senior on the young Saint Mary’s squad.Miller scored 7 points on 3-of-7 shooting and had three assists and two steals in the final home game of her career. She received a nice ovation as she exited the court in the final seconds of the game following a Bridget Lipke free throw.Saint Mary’s will travel to Olivet this Saturday in what will be their final regular season game of the year.The last meeting with Olivet on Feb. 3 resulted in a 77-69 Belles win. The victory ended a seven-game conference losing streak.The Belles surrendered 32 points to Olivet center Amanda Johnston, but the Saint Mary’s bench contributed 33 points over the course of the night.Stopping Johnston will be the key for a Belles victory.