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SMC Basketball: Belles drop first MIAA matchup on the road

Dan Cooper | Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No. 2 Hope College employed suffocating defense to defeat Saint Mary’s 67-42 Tuesday night – the 32nd consecutive win for the defending national champion Flying Dutch and the first MIAA game for both teams.

The Flying Dutch improved to 3-0 on the season with the win, while the Belles fell to 1-4.

The Belles jumped out to an early 6-4 lead, but Hope surged ahead with a 15-0 run and didn’t look back.

Hope’s run was due in large part to the two teams’ field goal percentage. Although the Flying Dutch shot a respectable 43 percent from the field, they held the Belles to a season-low 27 percent shooting (15-of-55).

Hope also had the edge in turnovers, scoring 22 points off Saint Mary’s 29 turnovers. In contrast, the Belles scored eight points on 20 takeaways.

“They played tough man D. They put a lot of pressure on the ball,” Saint Mary’s guard Alison Kessler said. “They had a better transition game and were better at getting the ball up the court.”

The Belles rebounded well, keeping pace with the Flying Dutch and pulling down 40 boards compared to the Flying Dutch’s 44. The Belles also committed fewer fouls (11 to Hope’s 16) and shot 73 percent from the charity stripe to Hope’s 40 percent.

Ultimately, Saint Mary’s could not overcome its uncharacteristic shooting struggles of two of its top players.

Kessler, who was an offensive force in the Belles’ win over Anderson, was 2-for-13 from the floor – including 0-for-5 shooting from behind the arc. Senior guard Bridget Lipke, who also played an important role against Anderson, was 2-of-8 shooting. Both Kessler and Lipke turned the ball over seven times.

Freshman center Anna Kammrath recorded her first collegiate double-double in the losing effort. Kammrath scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds coming off the bench. Hope center Ellen Wood scored 14 points and had 7 rebounds to lead the Flying Dutch.

The Belles travel to Chicago Friday to play the North Park Vikings at 7 p.m. in the North Park Viking Classic.