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SMC Basketball: No. 5 Belles set to host rival Alma

Meaghan Veselik | Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Saint Mary’s broke is MIAA losing streak Saturday with a 10-point victory over Adrian College. The Belles will look to continue their success against conference rival Alma tonight. The fifth-place Belles (5-6 MIAA, 9-10 overall) kick off a stretch of five home games when they play the Scots at 7:30 in the Angela Athletic Center.

Losing three consecutive conference games wasn’t the statement Saint Mary’s wanted to make to the rest of the MIAA during the last three weeks. After losses to third-place Calvin and the nation’s No. 1 Division III team, Hope, Saint Mary’s lost its third contest in a row to Olivet Jan. 30.

Against Adrian, the Belles came back in the second period after being down 31-28 at the half. The Belles shot 42.3 percent for the half, with junior Erin Newsom scoring 10 points in the first seven minutes of play. Katie Rashid, another junior, chipped in eight points in the half and 14 overall.

“I thought our team played a great second half against Adrian on Saturday,” Belles coach Jenn Henley said. “And I am expecting to build upon that performance as we face Alma.”

The Belles’ concentration is on enhancing their defense.

“We continue to focus on improving our overall team defense while controlling the boards,” Henley said.

Saint Mary’s has been outrebounding opponents by an average margin of 41-37.4 per game. But Adrian pulled down just as many rebounds as Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

Looking ahead to its game against Alma, Henley has outlined additional goals for her team.

“We have been working on ways to score on the inside to prepare for Alma,” Henley said. “They are a strong team that will show us a lot of different looks defensively.”

This season, Saint Mary’s has been scoring an average of 67.2 points per game while Alma has been averaging 58.5 points per contest.

Alma stands at seventh place in the MIAA, two spots behind Saint Mary’s. In their three meetings last season, the Belles defeated the Scots by scores of 72-60, 66-58 and 66-54.

“The game against Alma will be another great MIAA matchup,” Henley said.