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SMC Basketball: Belles top Alma

Dan Cooper | Thursday, January 25, 2007

Saint Mary’s traveled to Alma Wednesday night and returned home with a victory after defeating the Alma Scots 66-58. The win lifts the Belles record to 7-10 overall (6-4 MIAA), while the Scots drop to 7-9 (3-6 MIAA), respectively. It was a close game throughout and the Belles took a narrow 37-36 lead into halftime. In the second half, the Belles took control and pulled away by outscoring the Scots 29-22.Alma’s defense was tough, holding junior guard Allison Kessler to 11 points – eight points off her season average – on just 2-of-9 shooting. “You have to credit Alma, they took Kessler out of the game,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said.Henley said the Scots played a “triangle-and-two” defense in which two players played man-to-man while the other three were in zone coverage. The two man-to-man defenders matched up with Kessler and senior point guard Bridget Lipke and were successful in reducing their contribution. Saint Mary’s bench scored only two points in Saturday’s 84-72 win over Adrian but the reserves came up big on Wednesday. In total, the Belles bench contributed 19 points to the cause and freshman guard Patty Duffy dropped 15 points in 21 minutes of play. “We needed another shooter and Patty gave us a momentum swing,” Henley said. “She hit some tough shots from outside.”Duffy, who has been plagued by ankle injuries, was 3-of-6 from behind the arc and was able to take pressure off of Kessler and Lipke.Henley also mentioned free throw shooting as a key to Saint Mary’s success. The Belles made 82 percent of their free throws and Kessler was 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Saint Mary’s has now won two in a row and three of their last four. The Belles travel to Angola, Indiana to face Tri-State – who is 2-8 in the MIAA and 4-14 on the year – at 1 p.m. Saturday.