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SMC Basketball: Belles host Olivet in Senior Night rematch

Allan Joseph | Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Saint Mary’s hosts Olivet tonight in the Belles’ home finale and Senior Night, a must-win game if the Belles hope to claim third place in the MIAA.

The Comets will try to close out their season on a strong note in what will be their last contest of the year.

Saint Mary’s (12-11, 7-7 MIAA) traveled to Olivet (7-17, 6-9) a month ago and came away with a three-point victory that required every bit of the Belles’ resolve. Saint Mary’s escaped the Cutler Event Center thanks to a 23-4 second-half run. The Comets pushed the Belles to the brink in their last meeting, and Belles coach Jennifer Henley said she expects nothing less this time around.

“Our game with Olivet will certainly be a challenge,” Henley said. “They have great team speed and really work their inside-outside game.”

Henley said she wants the Belles to focus on playing airtight team defense, which begins with neutralizing Olivet’s low-post tandem of sophomore center Olivia Yarrell (11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds per game) and senior forward Gabrielle Federau (6.5 points, eight rebounds per game). The Comets are apt to look for kick-out passes that set up 3-point attempts by their guards, especially sharpshooting junior Stephanie Stephar.

“Our guards have to contest their outside shooters and not give up the open 3,” Henley said. “As a team, we need to stop putting teams at the foul line.”

Saint Mary’s will depend on senior forward Anna Kammrath and sophomore forward Kelley Murphy to shut down Olivet’s inside presence, while junior guard Liz Wade and sophomore guard Patsy Mahoney will be tasked with defending the Comet backcourt.

Kammrath will also be honored tonight as the team’s lone senior. A team captain, Kammrath has been a consistently strong performer for the Belles this year. Henley said she will be sad to see her go.

“I am very proud of the player she has become both on and off the court. These four years have gone by way too fast,” Henley said. “She certainly is leaving her mark, not only on this team, but this program.”

Saint Mary’s closes out its home schedule tonight against Olivet at 7:30 p.m. in the Angela Athletic Facility.