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SMC Basketball: Ronan’s 22 lead Belles to victory

Laura Coletti | Thursday, January 20, 2011

Junior guard Maggie Ronan dropped a career-high 23 points Tuesday night to help Saint Mary’s grab a 74-53 conference win over Trine.

The Belles (11-5) took a 37-25 lead into halftime after outscoring Trine (4-11) 24-11 over the final six and a half minutes of the first half. The Thunder did not come within more than 12 points of the lead for the remainder of the contest.

Ronan, who averages 11.4 points per game, was nine-for-nine from the free throw line, and was able to find the gaps in Trine’s defense to create scoring opportunities. She also hit seven of 14 shots from the floor. Belles’ coach Jenn Henley said she was pleased with Ronan’s performance.

“Maggie did a good job attacking the defense and getting hit on the offensive drive,” Henley said. “She was perfect from the foul line.”

As a team, the Belles hit 22 of 24 free throws, and were efficient in their scoring, not attempting a single three-point shot.

Junior forward Jessica Centa added 14 points in

the win, and junior forward Kelley Murphy chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds. It was Murphy’s 12th game this season scoring in double-figures.

Henley said she was happy with her team’s overall performance in the second half.

“In the second half, we did a better job of playing defense and limiting turnovers,” Henley said. “We were able to get out and run and attack their [zone] defense. Our defense really did a much better job.”

The Belles will try to use the momentum from this win to continue at home when they face Kalamazoo tonight. The Hornets are the last team Saint Mary’s will face in their first round of MIAA games, and they are looking to close out this opening segment of play on a strong note.

“We’re really putting the focus back on us in terms of preparing [for Kalamazoo],” Henley said. “We’re focusing on us in terms of defensively playing as a team and protecting the paint. We need to not let teams come in and score very easily, and cut down on mistakes and turnovers in the transition game. We’re at the point where we’re really shifting the focus on us and our defense.”

The Hornets will play at Saint Mary’s tonight at 7:30 p.m.