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SMC Basketball: Flying Dutch triumph over Belles

Matt DeFranks | Friday, February 4, 2011

The blizzard that postponed all MIAA games on Wednesday night cast a chill over South Bend — and over Saint Mary’s shooting. The Belles (14-7, 7-5 MIAA) fell 79-59 to No. 3/4 Hope on Thursday night at Angela Athletic Facility.

The Flying Dutch (19-1, 10-1) held Saint Mary’s to 18-of-60 (30 percent) shooting from the field and 1-of-9 shooting from the 3-point line.

Hope senior center Carrie Snikkers led all scorers with 22 points, including 17 in the first half, and chipped in 10 rebounds. Snikkers scored nine of the Dutch’s first 13 points, staking them to an early 13-4 lead.

“She’s a real nice player. She kept them going, she kept them in it in the first half,” Belles coach Jenn Henley said. “When you have a post player like that with a soft touch inside and can hit it from the outside, that’s a hard person to defend.”

Following a layup by Hope senior forward Rachael Kutney that pushed the lead to 14, the Belles responded by cutting the lead to eight before halftime. Just two minutes into the second half, two free throws by junior guard Patsy Mahoney trimmed the Dutch advantage to 4.

The Belles’ 18-8 run, which spanned 7:30 over both halves, got them back in the game. But that was the closest they would get. Hope used timely transition points to pull away from Saint Mary’s.

“We tried to slow them down a little bit, tried to limit their possessions,” Henley said. “Every time we kept knocking on that door and closing that gap, we gave up some easy transition points and seemed to kill us down the stretch.”

Junior forward Kelley Murphy led the Belles with 16 points and 14 rebounds while co-MIAA Player of the Week junior guard Maggie Ronan was held to eight points on just 2-for-5 shooting. Despite the loss, Henley was still proud of her team.

“They battled, they do not quit and they were here ready to compete tonight,” Henley said. “I give our kids all the credit in the world. I’ll go to battle with them any day.”

The Belles hit the hardwood next against Trine (7-13, 5-7) on Saturday. Saint Mary’s beat the Thunder 74-53 earlier this year behind Ronan’s then-career-high 23 points.

“Saturday’s a big day for us,” Henley said. “It’s Senior Day and we’ll be honoring our two seniors Grace [Sadowski] and Liz [Wade].”

Henley said that the prep time for Saturday’s game will be very beneficial.

“We’re going to work a lot on our defense to try to slow them down a little bit,” Henley said. “We’ll also look to take advantage of our height advantage against Trine.”

Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. at Angela Athletic Facility.