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SMC Basketball: Tough Olivet team awaits

Allan Joseph | Friday, January 15, 2010

Saint Mary’s will travel to Olivet Saturday for a conference match that may prove to be a challenge for the Belles. Coming off a tough loss to top-ranked rival Hope Wednesday, Saint Mary’s is working to recover before jumping into one of its busiest times of the season.

“We are preparing to play four games in eight days — and three of those games are on the road,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. “We need to stay focused as we near the end of the first round of conference play.”

The Comets (4-11, 3-3 MIAA), though seemingly an easy opponent due to their record, nevertheless will pose a unique set of challenges for the Belles (8-5, 3-2 MIAA).

“Olivet is playing very well right now, despite their record,” Henley said. “They have a lot of new faces this season and play very up-tempo basketball.”

Leading the Comets is sophomore center Olivia Parrell, who has been averaging more than 11 points and six rebounds per game for Olivet. Parrell will face the Belles’ record-setting senior forward Anna Kammrath in the paint Saturday. Kammrath averages 9.8 points this season while leading the Belles in rebounds with 9.8 rebounds per game. Kammrath and a strong Saint Mary’s defense will be key to stopping Parrell’s second chances in hopes of coming out with a win.

Along with stopping the Comets in the paint, Henley identified other weaknesses from the team’s recent loss to Hope which the Belles hope to improve.

“We need to reground and concentrate on cutting down our turnovers,” Henley said. “On the defensive end, we need to find a body to box out on the rebound.”

Currently tied for third in the MIAA with Adrian, the Belles are looking for a win over Olivet to keep within striking distance of top-ranked Calvin and Hope as they enter the second round of conference competition.

Saint Mary’s will battle Olivet at 1 p.m. Saturday at Olivet’s Cutler Event Center.