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SMC Basketball: Not playing in the same league

Joe Meixell | Monday, February 20, 2006

An overmatched Saint Mary’s team was beaten by Hope College 91-66 Saturday in the regular season finale for both squads. No. 7 Hope now sports a 24-1 overall record and became the first MIAA team to finish a season undefeated in 16 games of league play. Following the loss, the Belles are 11-14 overall and 9-7 in MIAA play.

Hope jumped out to an early 21-6 lead, knocking down seven of its first nine shots, and cruised to the easy victory in front of the home crowd.

The Flying Dutch hit 50.8 percent of their field goal attempts in the contest and nailed 9-of-15 3-point attempts.

Guard Bria Ebels led the way, hitting all six of her shot attempts and notching 23 points in just 26 minutes. Linda Ebels chipped in 17 points to go along with eight rebounds in the victory.

Hope led 50-27 at halftime and widened its lead to as many as 41 points during the second period.

“Their offense was almost impossible to stop,” Belles head coach Steve Bender said. “We put up a lot of points, but they are a great team.”

For Saint Mary’s, Bridget Boyce reached another milestone just one game after becoming the sixth Belle to score 1,000 career points. Against Hope, Boyce hit her 129th career three-pointer to set a school record. She scored 16 points in a losing effort.

Alison Kessler led the Belles with 20 points and Bridget Lipke added 10 to round out the double-digit scorers for Saint Mary’s.

On Tuesday, the Belles will host an MIAA playoff game for the first time in school history. They will take on Alma College, a team they defeated twice during the regular season.

Alma finished the season with a 7-9 conference record.

Bender is very optimistic as his team prepares for the post-season tournament.

“We did a lot of things well today so we’re very excited about this game,” he said.