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Belles set to battle Olivet in final regular season contest

Chris Khorey | Friday, February 18, 2005

Fresh off a 58-50 conference victory over the Kalamazoo Hornets, Saint Mary’s hopes to make it two in a row and gain some momentum before the MIAA tournament against last place Olivet Comets Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Angela Athletic Center.Saint Mary’s (10-14, 5-10 in the MIAA) is tied with Kalamazoo for sixth place in the conference. A win over the Comets (7-16, 2-13), coupled with a Hornets loss to the Alma Scots, would give the Belles the sixth seed in the MIAA tournament. A Kalamazoo win, however, would create a three-way tie between Saint Mary’s, Alma and the Hornets. Whoever ends up in the six seed will probably face Albion in the first round. The Belles have played the Britons tough in two meetings this year but came up on the short end both times. Before the conference tournament settles itself out, though, the Belles have to concentrate on beating the MIAA cellar-dweller Comets. After Saturday’s loss to Alma, Belle’s forward Alison Kessler reflected in a confident Saint Mary’s locker room heading into the final week of the season.”Our expectations are to win the [Kalamazoo and Olivet] games, without a doubt,” Kessler said.The Comets have struggled this season and are currently riding a 10-game losing streak. They have been especially bad away from the Upton Center, recording a 2-8 record in road games.Junir guard Kari Searles has led Olivet all season, by averaging 11.3 points per game. Sophomore forward Stephanie Smith has also come on strong in recent games. Smith scored 13 points in the Comets’ 100-87 loss to Tri-State Wednesday.The task of guarding Smith will probably fall to Belles star forward Emily Creachbaum. Creachbaum will be playing her final home game in the Angela Center, along with fellow seniors Katie Boyce and Deidre Mangan.