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SMC BASKETBALL: Belles bid farewell to leaders Lipke, Broderick

Michael Bryan | Friday, February 16, 2007

A Saint Mary’s win over Hope Saturday would do two things – avenge a loss to the Flying Dutchmen earlier this season and give the team’s two seniors, Bridget Lipke and Stefanie Broderick, a final memorable moment at home.

However, it won’t change MIAA tournament seeding for either team.

Saint Mary’s (11-11, 10-5 MIAA) locked up a No. 3 seed in the league tournament after its 71-63 overtime victory Wednesday against Albion. Hope (20-3, 12-3 MIAA) clinched a No. 2 seed in the MIAA tournament after defeating Alma Wednesday.

The only two teams still competing for postseason seeding are Albion and Olivet – tied for fourth place in the conference with 8-7 records.

Hope defeated Saint Mary’s 67-42 on Nov. 28. But despite the 25-point loss, Belles head coach Jennifer Henley said her team has progressed in the last few months.

“We’re both different teams now,” Henley said. “There’s definitely some motivation to prove that we can play with and beat them.”

Lipke and Broderick will be honored before the contest – the last regular season game of their careers. Lipke, a guard from Hinsdale, Ill., averages 12.4 points and 4.5 assists per game, good for first and second on the team, respectively. Broderick, a forward from St. Clair, Mich., has fit into a role coming off the bench and has provided the team with invaluable leadership and communication.

“Our seniors have been the rock of this team all season long,” Henley said. “They’re both very intelligent players and great leaders we’re going to miss a lot.”

In Saint Mary’s win over Albion Thursday, a jumper by Albion guard Jessica Babcock forced overtime and Saint Mary’s scored on six of its last 10 possessions to put the game away.

The Belles were led by guard Alison Kessler, who scored a game-high 23 points to go along with her eight assists. Sophomore Erin Newson crashed the boards for her fifth double-double of the year with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Lipke also put up 18 points in the winning effort.