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SMC Basketball: Belles incur two losses over weekend

Peter Steiner | Sunday, November 20, 2011

After facing two tough teams in Manchester and No. 16 Denison, the Belles emerged from this weekend’s Manchester Tip-off Tournament without a victory.

Though they were playing in the tournament for the first time, the Belles (1-2) knew they would have their hands full, Belles coach Jenn Henley said.

On Friday night, tournament host Manchester (2-1) defeated the Belles 66-54. After Baldwin-Wallace prevailed over Denison (2-1) on Friday, the Belles faced the Big Red in Saturday’s consolation match, but lost 81-74.

The Belles entered the tournament with high hopes after knocking off No. 25 Wheaton in the season opener, but started out slow against Manchester, shooting 30.4% from the field and suffering seven missed layups. However, with four steals and a third of their 23 first half points coming at the free-throw line, the Belles kept the game close and went into halftime down by just three points.

Within five minutes of the second half, the Belles had turned the ball over five times, and Manchester established a 10-point lead.

After three consecutive jumpers by the Belles, the Spartans’ lead was reduced to five, but Saint Mary’s surge was not enough. Soon Manchester’s lead was back to nine, and it never looked back.

Saint Mary’s top scorers in the game were senior guard Patsy Mahoney with 15 points and senior forward Jessica Centa with 14 points.

After the loss to Manchester, Saint Mary’s moved on to play Denison, who lost a close game to Baldwin-Wallace 54-53.

With six lead changes, the game went back and forth between the Belles and the Big Red. With 11 minutes left in the half,

Denison’s lead reached 12. The Belles never gave in, though, and with 18 seconds remaining they cut Denison’s lead to three points on a three-pointer from senior guard Maggie Ronan.

However, after a Belles’ foul, the Big Red connected on both free throws to secure the victory.

Powered by three pointers ⎯ the Big Red made 12 of 16 shots from beyond the arc ⎯ Denison proved to be too much for Saint Mary’s to handle. Denison’s bench outscored the Saint Mary’s bench 48-4.

Senior forward Kelley Murphy scored a game-high 23 points for the Belles. With 30 total points in the tournament, Centa was named to the all-tournament team.

In the upcoming weeks, the Belles look to recover from the tournament loss and prepare to play the last games of their nonconference schedule before moving onto MIAA play.

“I’m hoping that we are well-rested and mentally ready to get going as we head into Thanksgiving, getting ready for finals and things of that nature,” Henley said.

The Belles will attempt to get back to .500 when they play Anderson at home Tuesday.

 

 

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu