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SMC Basketball: Belles beat first ranked team since going D-III

Kate Grabarek | Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Belles broke new ground over the break and accomplished something they’ve never done.

Saint Mary’s bounced back from an early deficit to defeat No. 1 Hope College 91-84, winning the first game over a ranked opponent since joining Div. III over 10 years ago.

“Our team never gave up in the Hope game,” head coach Jen Henley said. “We were down 10 points with 6:15 left to go. We did a nice job on the boards down the stretch and our bench gave us a lift on the offensive end.”

Senior Nicole Beier had a breakout second half to lead the Belles in scoring for the game. Beier scored a career-high 25 points, 17 of those coming in the second half of the game.

Freshman Patsy Mahoney also stepped up for the Belles, scoring 18 points and 11 in the second half.

“I think our freshmen have adapted well to their first season of college basketball,” Henley said. “I believe they understand what it takes to compete in this league as well as finding the balance between academics and athletics.”

Senior Erin Newsom scored 14 points in the game after being honored for having the most rebounds in school history.

Next, the Belles went on the road and beat Adrian 74-69 in another conference game. The Belles barely escaped with a win but remained undefeated in the conference.

Mahoney again chipped in 17 points and five assists for the Belles, while Newsom scored 17 points of her own to put her past the 1000-point mark for her career. Beier rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14.

“I think we see all the conference teams as big rivals,” Newsom said. “Some schools are seen as tougher teams to beat like Hope and Calvin, but we try to go into every conference game with the attitude that we need to play our best in order to win, regardless of the team we’re put up against.”

In their final conference game of the break the Belles pulled out a win over Alma, 69-47. Every Belle saw action in the game which created a balanced attack that left the Scotts at bay in the victory which improved the Belles to 6-0 in conference play this season.

Beier again racked up 14 points in the victory and Newsom added 12 points and two steals.

The Belles will host Albion College today at 7:30 p.m.