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SMC Basketball: Squad takes first home and conference victory

Katelyn Grabarek | Thursday, December 4, 2008

Saint Mary’s defeated Trine for its first home and MIAA Conference victory of the season to bring their record 3-3 (1-0).

“Our goal for this year is to win conference,” senior Nicole Beier said. “We want to make it to the finals of the conference tournament.”

Each of the last two seasons the Belles have reached the semifinals of the MIAA tournament. Tonight the Belles took a step toward that goal with their 80-72 victory.

The Belles spread the scoring around in the game against Trine, with senior Erin Newsom leading the way with 20 points, and nine rebounds.

Junior Anna Kammrath also chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds for the night.

“Our freshmen need to learn our program and what we are trying to establish,” Belles coach Jen Henley said. “We have a very talented young group that will have the opportunity to contribute early for us.”

Some of that young group have had the opportunity to get their feet wet early this season.

Freshman Kelley Murphy, scored six points, and made three key free throws down the stretch for the Belles against Trine. Murphy also pulled down two rebounds.

Fellow freshman Patsy Mahoney hit a key three pointer in the first half and had a total of nine points in the game.

The freshmen will have to help the team overcome the loss of Alison Kessler to graduation.

“Alison was a good player but we have seven new players this year,” Beier said. “I think that we are a very different team and I can’t wait to see what we can do as we head into our conference games.

The Belles are coming off of a successful Thanksgiving break that saw them earn one victory and a tough one-point loss in the Anderson College Tip-Off Tournament.

“I think that Wheaton win was great for us,” Beier said. “It was frustrating losing another close game but I think that we are moving in the right direction. The games over break have helped us prepare well for our upcoming conference games.”

The Belles were able to defeat Wheaton at home on Nov. 25 by a score of 81-78.

Newsom was a force in the game against Wheaton as well as, notching her first double-double of the season. She and Beier combined for 35 points, with Beier coming off the bench in the game.

“I expect us to have more depth in our program this year,” Henley said. “We need to improve our overall team defense, and be more balanced in our offense from last season.”

The Belles will look to keep up their winning ways when they host inter-conference foe Calvin on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.