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Belles ready to face Calvin in MIAA tourney

Tim Singler | Thursday, February 25, 2010

Saint Mary’s continues its postseason journey tonight with a trip to Calvin for the semifinal round of the MIAA tournament.

The Belles (15-11, 9-7 MIAA) enter the game coming off an exhilarating 61-59 win over Albion in the first round that went down to the wire. Saint Mary’s enters yet another tough battle as they take on Calvin (23-3, 14-2), the No. 2 seed in the tournament. While the Knights boast a much stronger record, that won’t discourage the Belles.   

Saint Mary’s is coming off three impressive victories to close out the season, including two straight wins over Albion. The Belles could use this win streak to propel them past the Knights who will pose as a big challenge.

Calvin is in its fifth 20-win season in the past seven years. Last week, freshman forward Carissa Verkaik broke the MIAA single-game scoring record with 46 points in a win over Adrian. The Belles will face a tough test in defending the Knights’ high-powered offense, which averaged 67.8 points per game this season.

Verkaik leads the Knights in scoring with an average of 18.4 points per game. She also leads the team in blocks, with 3.6 per game, and in rebounds with 9.5 per game.

The Belles are not satisfied with simply focusing on the future and the experience the team is getting in the playoffs. Instead, they are focused on this year, even though the only senior on the team this year is forward Anna Kammrath. All of the returning members of last year’s squad bring experience from last year’s MIAA tournament. Saint Mary’s reached the championship game of the tournament last year.

The Belles hope to make it back to the championship game, but they must first defeat Calvin before they can move forward.

The game begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Grand Rapids, Mich.