SMC Basketball Feature: Post workers delivering results for Belles
Bill Brink | Wednesday, February 7, 2007
It all started Dec. 6, 2006.
Saint Mary’s traveled to Adrian that night after a 1-6 start to its season. The Belles had lost their only previous conference game by 25 points and scored an average of 57.4 points in those first seven games.
Still, the Belles managed a 56-48 victory that night. It could have been because they held every Bulldog to single digit point totals. It could have been their 47 percent shooting from field goal range in the second half.
Or it could have been the fact that this was the first game in which both freshmen center Anna Kammrath and sophomore forward Erin Newsom started.
It could be a coincidence. The game didn’t ring any bells with Belles coach Jennifer Henley.
“I don’t recall the first start for either of them. You’d have to go back and check all the box scores,” Henley said. “But I do know once they started that first game, they continued to start.”
Since that win, the Belles have gone 8-5 – including a streak during which they won four straight and five of six – and they now score 64.8 points per game.
“I think our post play overall has helped our recent success with the win streak,” Henley said.
Both Kammrath and Newsom feel that their individual contributions merely dovetail with the team’s play as a whole.
“Our team has shown that it is very balanced, and if one player can’t get the job done, others have been able to have big nights,” Kammrath said. “We have had quite a few games when more than two players have been in double figures. It’s hard for other teams to handle a team like ours.”
Nevertheless, there is a strong association between the six games the Belles played – five of which were victories between Jan. 13 and Jan. 31 – and the performance of Newsom and Kammrath.
After the first six games of the season, Kammrath averaged 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 24 minutes per game, while Newsom averaged 7.9 and 5.9 in 21.9 minutes.
During the recent six-game stretch, Kammrath averaged 29.5 minutes per game, scored 10.2 points and pulled down 9.2 boards.
Newsom averaged 30.5 minutes, 15.8 points and 7.8 rebounds during the same period.
It was in that span that each player brought their true potential into stark relief.
On Jan. 20 against Adrian, Kammrath broke out for 25 points and 14 rebounds, shooting 10-of-14 from the field.
“It was fun to play that game in particular because everyone did so great,” Kammrath said. “I just found myself open on offense and was able to convert.”
Newsom displayed the same abilities on Jan. 27 against Tri-State, scoring 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while shooting 7-of-13.
“We definitely had a height advantage which all of us post players made good use of,” Newsom said.
Henley also noted the size difference.
“Our guards recognized this early and got Erin the ball,” she said.
As a result, Newsom was named the MIAA Player of the Week that week.
Both players have taken the increased action in stride.
“I don’t care how many minutes I play as long as we walk away with a win,” Newsom said.
Kammrath, in her first season at the college level, had a tougher adjustment period, but started to feel comfortable around the fifth or sixth game of the season.
“At the beginning, it was scary for me to be playing at a college level. I was nervous and didn’t have much confidence in myself,” she said.
Kammrath and Newsom have a competitive but helpful relationship with each other, continuously trying to make the other better.
“Anna [Kammrath] is great to play with,” Newsom said. “She’s a very supportive and unselfish teammate.”