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Belles looking for first win of the year

Ken Fowler | Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Belles are hoping history will repeat itself tonight.

Last year, after losing to Hanover and Franklin in the two games of the Tip-Off Classic, Saint Mary’s took on a tough out-of-conference Manchester team and came away with its first win of the season.

This year, coming off consecutive defeats in the Tip-Off Classic to the same two opponents, Saint Mary’s hopes for a win against the Spartans.

However, after two games of shooting woes, the Belles must be on target from the field if they except to challenge the Spartans.

Manchester’s defense held IU-Northwest to just 23-percent field goal percentage in its season-opening win on Friday. The Spartans then tore through Illinois Tech, 77-49, on Saturday to clinch the Tip-Off Classic title. In both games, Manchester looked impressive on the court.

The Spartan defense has only allowed one opposing player to reach double-digits in scoring in the first two games. The Belles will try to counter the Spartans’ defensive prowess with good passing and a balanced attack.

As far as the offensive match-ups, Belles sophomore guard Bridget Boyce and Manchester senior Erica Sewell lead the two offenses in scoring. Boyce posted an impressive performance in the loss Saturday, scoring 22 points off the bench on 8-of-12 from the field. The Belles will have to expect an equally impressive performance tonight, as Sewell comes in averaging 26 points and 14.5 rebounds in her first two games.

Belles forward Bridget Lipske, who had 10 assists on Saturday, will have the defensive task of limiting Sewell’s production. One of Lipske’s main goals will be to curtail Sewell’s effectiveness off the offensive glass. In the first two games, Sewell scored 23 of her points on second-chance opportunities. The Belles cannot afford to give the Spartans any extra chances.

Last year, they achieved that goal, keeping Sewell to just two offensive boards and preventing her from opening other opportunities for her teammates – she had no assists. Saint Mary’s held the remaining opening starters to the 27 points. Topping an excellent defensive performance last year, the Belles held the Spartan bench to just 8 points.

Saint Mary’s looks to garner its first win of the year at the Angela Athletic Center at 7 p.m.