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Big runs help team to victory over Bulldogs

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 22, 2007

In their most important conference game to date Saint Mary’s pulled out an impressive victory, defeating the Adrian 84-72 Saturday at the Angela Athletic Center.

The win improves the Belles record to 6-10 on the season while Adrian falls to 7-9 (2-7 in the MIAA). More importantly the Belles move to 5-4 in the MIAA, good enough for third in conference play. Should the Belles stay in the top four of the conference standings, they would be guaranteed home-court advantage in the MIAA tournament first round.

Adrian started the game on fire from beyond the arc, hitting their first six 3-pointers en route to a 31-18 lead.

“We started out sluggish, sitting in the zone and not expecting them to knock down the three’s,” Saint Mary’s coach Jennifer Henley said. “When they hit those three pointers we quit playing zone.”

The game was characterized by rallies with the Belles ended the first half on a 21-4 run that sent them into the locker room with a 39-34 advantage.

Five minutes into the second half the Bulldogs had pulled within four but Saint Mary’s responded with another surge – this time an 11-4 run – that helped the Belles pull away and maintain a comfortable lead throughout the rest of the game.

One key to Saint Mary’s victory was its ability to beat Adrian on the boards – something the Bulldogs had excelled at this season, pulling down an average of 44 rebounds a game, seven more than their opponents. On Saturday the Belles were superior off the glass, out-rebounding the Bulldogs 41-30.

“We’ve been working all week on our rebounding,” Henley said. “Adrian played their small guard and that allowed our posts to box out and secure rebounds.”

Saint Mary’s accuracy from the charity stripe was another critical element of Saturday’s win. In total, the Belles shot 83 percent from the line – hitting 28-of-35 free throw attempts. The Belles were even better when it mattered most, sinking 15-of-17 free throws in the final two minutes.

The Belles received quality contributions from their starters, four of whom scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Erin Newsome scored 17 points and made all seven of her free throw attempts. Senior guard Bridget Lipke notched 13 points and a game-high seven assists.

Henley was impressed by the play of freshman center Anna Kammrath who posted her third double-double of the season, scoring 25 points and pulling down 14 rebounds.

“Anna’s been doing well all season long. She’s been improving every time she steps on

the floor,” Henley said.

Guard Allison Kessler rounded out the impressive Belles’ starting five with 25 points on 6-of-12 shooting.