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SMC Basketball: Belles ready for Adrian in conference matchup

| Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saint Mary’s will try to win its second straight road game to maintain its third-place conference standing when the Belles travel to Adrian Tuesday night.

Saint Mary’s (9-5, 4-2 MIAA) enters the game at Adrian (7-7, 3-3) coming off of Saturday’s 61-58 win at Olivet. Tonight’s contest is the third of 10 straight against MIAA competition, a stretch that will greatly determine whether the Belles will meet their goals in conference play.

“This is a very big week for everyone in the league as it finishes out the first round of conference play,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said.

It won’t be an easy one for Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs are coming off a tough loss to conference leader Calvin in which Adrian hung tough for most of the first half but were sunk by a 12-0 Calvin run in the second half.

Adrian will look for a similar start against the Belles Tuesday.

“Adrian is a very solid team with a lot of experienced players,” Henley said. “They do a great job of getting solid looks off the drive.”

For the Belles, they must come out strong right from the start of the game. Saint Mary’s will have an easier time in the game if they can stop the Bulldogs’ offense and limit their excellent guard play.

The Bulldogs have a strong backcourt featuring seniors Anita Stamps and Jennifer Perrin. These two guards are the tops in scoring average for the Bulldogs. Perrin has led the team in scoring in six games thus far, and Stamps posted a career-high 26 points in an 80-70 overtime win over Kalamazoo on Jan. 13. Both of these guards will prove to be a handful for the Belles’ defense.

“We need to work harder at playing better team defense and not get in foul trouble,” Henley said.

Saint Mary’s has allowed 61.2 points per game during conference play this season, as compared to scoring 62.8 points per game — a narrow margin between winning and losing games.

Saint Mary’s has also committed 284 personal fouls this season, 29 more than its opponents. The Belles will look to avoid giving away free-throw opportunities against the Bulldogs.

Saint Mary’s will take on Adrian Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.