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Belles start break strong, fall at end

Ken Fowler | Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Saint Mary’s winter break was one of streaks.It started with a three-game win streak that gave the Belles a 6-4 record, which already tops the team’s win total from the 2003-2004 season; it ended with a four-game losing streak that has taken the steam out the team’s newfound momentum.In the team’s most recent game, Saint Mary’s fell to Hope by the score of 78-64.The Flying Dutch were only 2-for-16 from the 3-point line but had 17 steals and 17 offensive rebounds, which opened too many opportunities for Saint Mary’s to defend. Bridget Lipke shined in the loss, scoring 19 and grabbing eight rebounds.In other games over the break:

Saint Mary’s 69,Anderson 54Emily Creachbaum led the Belles against Anderson University on Dec. 9 with 16 points and six rebounds, as Saint Mary’s handily defeated the Ravens, 69-54 on Dec. 9. Alison Kessler contributed 12 points and two assists, and Bridget Boyce scored 10. The win at home got the Belles back to .500 on the season.Saint Mary’s 95, Tri-State 83Two days later at the Angela Athletic Center, Creachbaum led the Belles to another double-digit win, scoring 23 points and grabbing 7 rebounds in just 21 minutes. The Belles countered Tri-State’s heavy-substitution style with their own show of depth. Nine Belles played more than 10 minutes, and six scored in double figures. With the win, the Belles improved to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in league play. The MIAA rewarded Creachbaum for her two impressive performances in three nights, naming her the league’s Player of the Week.Saint Mary’s 66, Siena Heights 61Saint Mary’s winning ways continued against Siena Heights on Dec. 27 in the first round of the St. Xavier Tournament in Chicago. Bridget Lipke offered an impressive performance, with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Even with Lipke’s dominance, four other Belles scored at least 10 points. Belles head coach Suzanne Bellina credited the win to the “balanced offense.” With the win, the Belles improved to 6-4 on the year.St. Xavier 63, Saint Mary’s 55The next night, the Belles’ win streak ended, as shooting woes led to Saint Mary’s first loss in nearly four weeks. Creachbaum scored 19 and pulled down 15 rebounds, and the defense played well, but it was not it enough to compensate for the Belles’ 22 turnovers, 32 percent field-goal percentage and 1-for-10 outing from the 3-point line. Saint Mary’s trailed by six at the half and could not mount a sustained comeback in the final 20 minutes.Huntington 66, Saint Mary’s 62After 100 minutes of basketball in 48 hours, the Belles let a six-point halftime lead against Huntington slip away in the final game of the St. Xavier Tournament on Dec. 26. “It was a winnable game,” Coach Bellina said, but “we ran out of gas a little bit.” Saint Mary’s lost the second half 39-29 after staking a 33-27 lead to end the first. In the defeat, Lipke recorded 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Creachbaum scored 16 points. The Belles left the windy city at .500, with a 6-6 record.Calvin 56, Saint Mary’s 45Serious shooting troubles reappeared on Thursday in the Belles first league game since beating Tri-State nearly a month earlier. Playing in front of a home crowd at the Angela Athletic Center, Saint Mary’s shot just 26 percent from the field, and mustered only 17 points in the first half. Only Maureen Bush managed to score in double-digits, recording 11 points and 9 rebounds.