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SMC Basketball: Centa leads Belles in scoring as team wins road game

Laura Coletti | Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Saint Mary’s rode a balanced scoring attack and timely defensive stops to an 82-72 win over Alma on Saturday in a key conference road game.

After exchanging baskets for the first six minutes, the Belles (14-6, 7-4 MIAA) snapped a tie with a 5-0 scoring run to take a 13-8 lead. The Scots (1-18, 0-10) answered with an 8-2 run of their own to take the lead with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.

Saint Mary’s regained the lead and built it to 14 with three minutes remaining, but Alma closed out the half on a scoring tear, and the Belles headed to the locker room with a 39-36 advantage.

Belles coach Jenn Henley said that she wasn’t too worried about Alma’s run at the end of the half.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Henley said. “But we did talk about making some adjustments to get out on their shooters and do a better job of rebounding at both ends.”

The Belles came out strong in the second half, and held a double-digit lead with under 15 minutes remaining in the second half. They controlled the rest of the game and maintained the lead to scratch out the win.

“I think our team did a great job in their transition offense against Alma,” Henley said. “We were able to get out and attack the basket pretty consistently during the game. We still need to continue improving on our team defense — we gave up too many points on Saturday.”

Junior forward Jessica Centa led the Belles in scoring, matching her career-high with 18 points. Junior guard Maggie Ronan added 16 points, while senior guard Pasty Mahoney chipped in with 10. Junior forward Kelley Murphy recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Henley said she was pleased to see many of her players post big numbers.

“The balanced scoring attack is what every coach wants to see,” Henley said. “We have a lot of different ways we can score as a team which makes us harder to defend.”

Ronan earned her second consecutive MIAA Co-Player of the Week honors for her performance on Saturday as well as in last Wednesday’s game against Olivet.

“I think she [Ronan] did a pretty good job for us,” Henley said. “Overall, our entire team played very well last week.”

Saint Mary’s returns home on Tuesday to play No. 3 Hope.