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SMC BASKETBALL: Slow start dooms Belles against Carthage

Fran Tolan | Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Steve Bender didn’t want to start this way.

The first-year Belles coach saw Saint Mary’s fall to 1-3 on the season Saturday.

Saint Mary’s team lost 63-45 to Carthage in a game in which the Belles never got on track.

In their first home game of the young season, the Belles came out struggling, hitting just 4-of-24 field goal attempts in the first half. They fell behind 24-2 and were never able to recover.

“There’s no way we had a chance after such a poor start,” Bender said.

Carthage (1-1), meanwhile, knocked down 12-of-18 shots in the first 20 minutes to take a commanding 30-17 lead at the half.

Saint Mary’s battled back in the second half, cutting the lead to 34-28 with 16:11 remaining.

But Carthage’s strong shooting was too much for them to handle.

The Lady Reds went on a 25-5 run to ice the game after Saint Mary’s cut the Carthage lead to six. Carthage made 53 percent of its shots on the night, and the Belles, who dropped their second straight game, shot just 26 percent.

Carthage sophomore Jenny Wuest led all scorers with 21 points to go along with her six rebounds. Wuest dominated the Saint Mary’s defense all game, missing just two of her 11 shots.

Freshman guard Shana Lieberman also chipped in 17 points for the Lady Reds.

Bender said his team took at least one positive away from the Carthage loss. He said several underclassmen played well and saw more playing time Saturday and that he believes the freshmen and sophomores showed potential to contribute significantly this season.

“I realized we have a lot of depth that we were not necessarily expecting this soon,” Bender said.

Sophomore guard Alison Kessler was the only Saint Mary’s player to reach double digits, scoring 15 points. Junior Bridget Lipke added eight points and three assists in the losing effort.

Guard Bridget Boyce scored five points and Erin Newsome, Emily Light, Katie Rashid each chipped in four points.

The Belles will next be in action against Hope today at the Angela Athletic Center.