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Scots beat Belles at SMC in final seconds

Ken Fowler | Monday, February 14, 2005

The last time Saint Mary’s met Alma, Bridget Boyce hit a buzzer-beating jumper to send the game into overtime, where the Belles would eventually fall to the Scots.Saturday, it was déjà vu as her sister Katie Boyce was the one taking the last-second shot to save the Belles.This time there would be no buzzer-beater as Saint Mary’s fell by the score of 53-51.The Scots led 25-22 at the half and had expanded the lead to 39-33 with just over 12 minutes remaining. Then, the Belles’ defense stepped up, and the offense followed suit.Saint Mary’s drew seven fouls and held Alma to just two baskets during the next six minutes.On the offensive side, Bridget Boyce, Alison Kessler and Maureen Bush led the comeback, scoring eight, seven and six points, respectively, in the second half.For the game, Emily Creachbaum, Bush and Katie Boyce each grabbed nine boards, and the team combined to pull down 14 offensive rebounds. The solid work on the offensive glass created many second chances for the offense, which helped diminish the impact of the Belles’ 29.5-percent shooting.Bush led the team in scoring with 12, and Creachbaum added nine points and one block.According to Kessler, the guards were looking to pass the ball to Bush and Creachbaum in the paint. “It’s always our focus to get the ball down low,” she said. “That creates so many more opportunities for us.”With 6 minutes showing on the game clock, Kessler combined defense and offense, stripping Scot center Darcie Philp at one end and hitting a 3-pointer at the other end to give Saint Mary’s its first lead of the half.Quickly, though, Alma regained the lead when Ashley Matuzak made her only field goal of the game on the team’s ensuing possession.The teams went back-and-forth until the Belles, down by one, turned the ball over with 1:15 left in the game. After a reach-in foul on Saint Mary’s – just the team’s fifth of the half, Scot star Katey Peacock scored the final two of her 19 points with 25.5 seconds remaining to give Alma a four-point lead.With 8.6 seconds left, Kessler drew a foul as she rebounded a missed 3-pointer. After draining the first free throw and cutting the deficit to three, Kessler appeared to have tried to miss the second, but the ball bounced in for the MIAA’s leading free-throw shooter.The Belles then saw 3.2 seconds run off the clock after having to foul twice to force the Scots into the bonus. With 5.4 seconds left, Alma’s Ashley Borcherding made the front end of a one-and-one to give the Scots a two-point lead.When she missed the second, Katie Boyce grabbed the rebound, ran down court and took the shot. Her off-balance, desperation 3-pointer clanked off the rim, and the Belles are in a tie for seventh place with Adrian in the MIAA. Whichever team finishes eighth must win a play-in game before the MIAA tournament just to earn the daunting task of facing the No. 1 seed.Saturday’s game was “a tough loss,” Kessler said, “but … our expectations are to win our next two games, without a doubt.”