SMC Basketball: Kessler sets all-time point record in win
Griffin Dassatti | Thursday, February 21, 2008
Alison Kessler only shot 25 percent from the field in Wednesday’s 74-63 win over Adrian, and yet with 4:33 left in the first half, coach Jennifer Henley called a timeout so Kessler could get a standing ovation from the home crowd.
That’s because Kessler had just sunk a free-throw for her 13th point, giving her 1,534 points for her career and breaking the Saint Mary’s all-time record previously held by Jennie Taubenheim.
After the game, Kessler said the record had been on her mind coming into the game, but it wasn’t the only thing.
“I was just thinking that I wanted to get it over with so I could move on and not have it hanging over my head anymore,” she said. “It was really great that they took the timeout to recognize it, but at the same time I was more worried about winning the game.”
Modesty aside, Kessler was right to be concerned with the team’s performance. Coming into Wednesday’s contest, the Belles (11-12, 7-8 MIAA) were in a four-way tie for fourth in the MIAA along with Alma, Olivet and Adrian. The top four teams in the MIAA will get home-court advantage in the first round of next week’s conference playoffs.
Luckily for Saint Mary’s, it began the game on a 15-3 run and never surrendered the lead. The Bulldogs did manage to bring the score to 19-14 with 7:26 left in the first half, only to see the margin swell back to 10 points with 1:25 left. The Belles entered the locker room with a 35-29 lead.
The second half saw much of the same, with Saint Mary’s getting the usual solid contributions from their starters. Kessler, who went 4-for-16 from the field but scored 22 of her game-high 31 points from the free-throw line, was backed up by junior forward Erin Newsom’s 20 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bulldogs got within four on their first possession of the second half, but again the Belles rallied for a 14-point lead with six minutes to go in the game. Despite a late Adrian rally to get back within six point, Saint Mary’s held on for the important win.
“I’m just happy to be a part of it. I’ve only been here for two years and Alison started this her freshman year,” Henley said. “It’s not something we really talk about, it being an individual honor in a team sport, but this team really rallies around her and we’re proud of her. We were especially glad she could get it in front of her home fans.”
The record broken, the game won, Kessler and the Belles now have to look ahead to their next game.
“We really needed this win and Saturday is a must-win for us because then we’ll play the first round of conference at home,” Kessler said. “At this point we control our own destiny, and we are focused on beating Olivet.”