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SMC Basketball: Belles finish up conference slate

Laura Coletti | Friday, February 18, 2011

Saint Mary’s is looking to continue its three game winning streak on Saturday when it takes on Kalamazoo in its last MIAA conference game of the year.

With a current conference record of 10-5, the Belles (17-7, 10-5 MIAA) are sitting comfortably in fourth place in the MIAA standings, behind Calvin (14-1 MIAA), Hope (14-1), and Albion (11-4). Should the Belles defeat the Hornets (5-18, 4-11) on Saturday, an Albion loss would move the Belles into a tie for third place, which could be critical for seeding in the MIAA Conference Tournament, which begins next week.

Saint Mary’s meeting with Kalamazoo on Jan. 20 resulted in the Belles’ greatest offensive output of the season to date. The 90-59 win was in part a result of big games from junior forward Kelley Murphy and junior swing Maggie Ronan. The pair combined for 42 points, and Murphy added nine rebounds. Junior forward Jessica Centa also reached double-figure scoring with 14 points. Since last playing Saint Mary’s, the Hornets have gone 3-4, posting over half of their wins for the year in that time span.

Belles Coach Jennifer Henley is always primarily focused on the Belles’ defensive effort, as she is of the philosophy that if her team plays strong defense, the rest will take care of itself. In the previous contest, Henley was not satisfied with her squad’s defensive effort, and it is certainly something the Belles will be looking to improve upon from last time.

Saint Mary’s will also be looking to their success from Wednesday’s game against Adrian to carry over to Saturday’s contest. Four Belles reached double figures, including Murphy and Ronan. On the year, four Saint Mary’s players are averaging double figures. Murphy leads the team with 15 points per game, and is almost averaging a double-double, as she is hauling in rebounds at a 9.5 per game clip. She is followed by Ronan, who contributes 13.5 points per game, and junior guard Patsy Mahoney, at 12.8 points per game. Centa rounds out the Belles averaging double-figures, at 10 points per game.

Saturday’s game will take place at 1 p.m. in Kalamazoo, Mich.