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SMC Basketball: SMC uses defense to take down Alma

Alex West | Monday, February 9, 2009

Playing its best defensive game of the year, Saint Mary’s dominated Alma 66-39 on Saturday afternoon from start to finish.

“I think Alma missed some shots early on,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. “We built some momentum from that.”

The Belles (13-8) started out strong, building an early 15-8 lead. The Scots (7-13) were able to cut it to a 15-12 game before the Belles pulled away to a 30-20 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Belles started on a 26-1 run that ultimately sealed the deal. Saint Mary’s finished the game shooting better than 40 percent from the field. The Belles also forced the Scots into 25 turnovers and held them to 25 percent shooting.

“We continue to stress the importance of team defense and defending the paint.” Henley said.

The Belles received their normal 10 points and 8 rebounds from senior forward Erin Newsom and 12 points and 9 rebounds from Anna Kammrath, but they also received quality play off the bench. Kelley Murphy added 7 points and 8 rebounds and Jessica Centa added 10 points coming off the bench for the Belles.

“Our bench is continuing to improve.” Henley said. “With the loss of Nicole Beier due to a foot injury, these two players have really stepped up for us.”

The Belles are now 11-2 in conference play and hold second place in the MIAA with just four regular season games to go. Their next contest will be at home against Adrian. Saint Mary’s defeated the Bulldogs 74-69 at Adrian the last time the two teams faced off.

“We did not play particularly well down the stretch at their place.” Henley said. “They are a very good team who will be ready for us.”

Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Angela Athletic Facility.