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Newsom drops 30 points in road victory

Bill brink | Monday, January 29, 2007

Center Erin Newsom had 30 points and 11 rebounds as Saint Mary’s defeated Tri-State 83-66 Saturday in Angola, Ind.

The win – the Belles’ second over Tri-State this season – boosted their record to 8-10, 7-4 in MIAA play.

The Belles came out firing, leading 10-0 in the first five minutes of the game and never trailing. The Thunder would battle back, closing the gap to as close as one, but went into halftime down 42-34.

“It is very important to get off to a good start,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. “If you don’t, you play catch up the rest of the game. We try to set the tone of the game in the first couple possessions.”

In the second half, Tri-State kept the game surprisingly close, trailing by as little as three at some points. With 9:24 left in the game, however, the Belles took over and led by at least nine points for the rest of the game.

Henley said the improved play of Newsom and forward Anna Kammrath, who had 11 points and 7 rebounds Saturday, has helped guards Alison Kessler and Bridget Lipke, the Belles leading scorers for most of this season.

“We have been able to take the pressure off of Alison as we move along in the season,” Henley said. “More and more players are stepping up at the offensive end of things that we are a more difficult team to defend than what we were at the start of the year. I think that Alison and Bridget Lipke are carrying this team, there just isn’t as much pressure as there was early on.”

Lipke had 13 points and 11 assists and came two rebounds shy of a triple-double Saturday.

Rebounding – a part of the game the Belles struggled with early in the year and which Henley said she stresses often in practice – was not a problem for Saint Mary’s against the Thunder. The Belles out-rebounded Tri-State 47-32.

Saint Mary’s now has sole possession of third place in the MIAA standings. It faces fourth-place Olivet at home Wednesday.

The game also produced a milestone for Lipke, who broke the Saint Mary’s record for assists in a career. Lipke, who now has 364 assists, passed Tammye Radke’s previous mark of 353, set back in 1984-88.

“[Lipke] understands the offense we have put in this season so well, that I let her call out our plays for the majority of the game,” Henley said. “She has a great read on what her teammates can do and she has also stepped up her on contributions this season at both ends of the court. [The record] is something that this team really strived to help her achieve and we couldn’t be happier for her.”