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SMC Basketball: Belles try for rebound at Olivet

Joe Meixell | Friday, February 22, 2008

After a nine-point loss to the No. 1 Hope on Saturday, Saint Mary’s is back on the road tonight as it takes on Olivet in Olivet, Mich., at 7:30.

“Olivet is another strong team in the MIAA,” Belles coach Jenn Henley said. “They have a new coach and a lot of fresh faces.”

Olivet is 7-9 overall and 5-3 in MIAA play.

Saint Mary’s (8-9, 4-5 MIAA) held its own against Hope (17-0, 9-0 MIAA), leading 33-30 at the half. Leading Hope scorer Jordyn Boles’s 18 points in the first 10 minutes of the second period, however, gave her team a lead Saint Mary’s couldn’t overcome. The Belles lost 82-73, tying with conference foe Alma for Hope’s second smallest winning margin this season.

“I thought our team played very well all last week, despite two losses,” Henley said. “If we can keep that same type of focus and intensity throughout the rest of the season, we will have a strong finish.”

Regardless of the loss, Saint Mary’s managed to put up some impressive numbers. Senior guard Allison Kessler, the leading scorer for her team and the MIAA, scored a team-high 21 points. The Belles shot 40.3 percent from the floor, going 81.8 percent from the line with four players in double digits.

The bench has been productive as well. Juniors Erin Newsom and Katie Rashid score 10.7 and 9.4 points per game, respectively. Sophomore Anna Kammrath holds her own in this group of upperclassmen with 9.9 per game this season.

Saint Mary’s out-rebounded Hope this past weekend with a total 38 rebounds, an area which Henley said her team has shown improvement throughout this season.

“I feel our rebounding has improved all season and we need to continue those efforts,” Henley said.

The Belles average 41.4 rebounds per game.

Saint Mary’s has showed consistent improvement on the court as its season continues, but it is always striving for perfection.

“Our goals continue to be to improve our defense and keep points out of the paint,” Henley said.

Olivet’s new head coach, Heather Bateman, served as assistant coach for the Comets for the past six seasons, making her no stranger to MIAA competition.