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SMC Basketball: Belles look to avenge earlier loss to Calvin

Kyle Cassily | Friday, February 3, 2006

Saint Mary’s is out to prove that it’s a different team in this second half of the season – and so far, so good.

After avenging a previous loss to Olivet with a 74-66 win on Wednesday night, the Belles will look to even their season series with the Calvin College Knights Saturday at 3 p.m.

The Belles dropped a heartbreaker to Calvin on Jan. 7, falling short 67-62. And while the Knights are currently in second in the MIAA with a 10-1 conference record, that doesn’t intimidate the streaking Belles.

The Belles have won five of their last six and have a three game winning streak after beating third-place Olivet. With an 8-4 conference record, they are just a win or a Calvin loss away from being in third place themselves.

“We’ve won a few games in a row,” freshman center Nicole Beier said. “We’re on a good streak. We’re feeling great about the team.”

There’s no question that the win over Olivet was a statement game for the Belles, who are creeping into the upper echelon of MIAA teams.

“I think the intensity [from the Olivet game] is going to stay through [the Calvin game],” freshman forward Erin Newsom said. “We can stay with any team in the conference.”

The new-look Belles have no lack of confidence when playing teams they’ve lost to in the past, thanks in large part to their 3-1 record this year in second games against conference foes.

“I don’t think it makes a difference anymore,” Newsom said of the Belles’ loss to Calvin. “How we did against a team in the past is over.”

Some of the Belles, though, seem to take each loss personally.

“It was kind of a tough loss,” Beier said. “We’re really looking forward to being able to play them again, and this time, get a win.”

Documented by the 3-1 mark, a strength of the Belles and first-year head coach Steve Bender is being able to adjust their game when facing an opponent the second time, and correcting deficiencies that have plagued the team in its losses.

One of those deficiencies in the Belles’ losses was the team’s post play.

“We need to box out better rebound better,” Beier said. “We struggled at the end of the game last time. Hopefully this time we can improve on that.”

Newsom said if Saint Mary’s continues to do what it has been doing in the past six games, the Belles will have no problem coming away with a win against Calvin.

“I think if we keep playing like a team, and keep playing good solid defense, we’ll come up on top,” she said.