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SMC Basketball: Saint Mary’s drops 2 of 3 during break

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Despite holding halftime leads in all three of its games in the past week of action, Saint Mary’s managed only one win and saw its record fall to 2-3 in non-conference action.

After a 54-44 loss at Anderson University on Nov. 20, the Belles traveled to Trinity, Texas, for the Trinity University Thanksgiving Classic, where they opened with a 92-44 rout of Notre Dame (Maryland) on Saturday. The following game, Saint Mary’s suffered a 69-58 loss to the nation’s No. 22 team, George Fox University.

Saint Mary’s entered halftime of each game with the lead but quickly saw three-point advantages vanish against both Anderson and George Fox. The Belles have led at the half in all five of their games but have struggled to maintain those leads in all but their two blowout victories, which have come by a combined 84 points.

Against Anderson, the Belles started slowly but found their stride, going on a 21-3 run after failing to score a point in the first five minutes. They led 24-21 entering the break, but the host Ravens scored the second half’s first 10 points and kept the Belles from finding the bottom of the net until only 13:13 remained in the game.

Senior Alison Kessler scored 11 points in the loss, while junior Erin Newsom and sophomore Anna Kammrath each grabbed 12 rebounds.

The Belles never trailed in their dismantling of Notre Dame, and five players scored in double figures: junior Katie Rashid (17 points), Kessler (16), Kammrath (15), Newsom (10) and freshman Becky Newsom (10), who is Erin’s sister. Each Newsom sister totaled nine boards, and junior Meghan Conaty dished out nine assists.

As a team, St. Mary’s shot 52.3 percent from the field in the victory and dominated the interior, out-rebounding the Gators 57-25 and outscoring them 48-28 in the paint.

A four-minute scoring drought near the end of the second half against George Fox killed the Belles’ chances, as they failed to convert a field-goal attempt from 5:46 until 1:08 remained. The back-and-forth battle included four ties and nine lead changes, and after squandering a 30-27 halftime lead, the Belles pulled within seven points in the final 30 seconds, but it was simply too little, too late.

Kessler, who was named to the all-tournament team, racked up 19 points in the loss. Erin Newsom dropped 17 points and had 9 rebounds, and Kammrath put home 12 points.

The Belles have a week off before playing their MIAA opener on Dec. 5, when they host Calvin at 7:30 p.m.