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SMC Basketball: Belles best Tri-State in tight matchup

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 21, 2008

Despite first-half struggles, the Belles came together in the second half to defeat Tri-State 74-71 Saturday at Angela Athletic Facility.

The win, the Belles’ second in a row by three points, pulled them to 8-7 overall and 4-3 in the MIAA. This was also Saint Mary’s second victory over Tri-State this year, – the first came when they won 82-68 at Tri-State on Dec. 8.

The Thunder began the game on a 7-0 run, led by guard Sarah Howe and forward Kristen Julian. Tri-State led for the entire first half. The Belles narrowed the gap to four, ending the half down 36-32, but didn’t lead until sophomore Anna Kammrath scored 3:57 into the second half, to go up 39-38.

In the second half, Saint Mary’s looked to increase the tempo of the game through numerous fast breaks initiated by junior Meghan Conaty, who finished with six assists. The junior point guard fed the ball to her post players, most notably junior forward Erin Newsom, who finished with 15 points.

Newsom not only displayed her ability to score in the paint, but also showed off an accurate mid-range jumper that kept the Belles in the game.

After the Kammrath lay-up, the game became a back-and-forth contest, with the two teams exchanging leads five times before the Belles finally took a 74-71 lead on a 3-pointer by junior guard Katie Rashid with 1:18 left.

After dodging the Thunder’s last-second attempt to tie, Saint Mary’s celebrated their first at home since Dec. 28 against Kenyon.

Senior guard Alison Kessler followed up her school-record 41-point performance against Kalamazoo with 16 points against the Thunder. Rashid netted 11 of her own to round out the Belles’ leading scorers.

Many second-chance points and fast breaks sprung forth from superb rebounding from Belles forwards Newsom and Kammrath, who combined for 25 boards.

Becky Newsom came off the bench to deliver 12 points and five rebounds in a perfect shooting performance, going three-for-three from the field and converting all six of her free throws.

Saint Marys’ next game will be Wednesday at Calvin, where they will try to avenge a 67-52 loss earlier in the season.