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SMC Basketball: Saint Mary’s set to face Thunder

Peter Steiner | Tuesday, November 29, 2011

After finishing the first part of a tough nonconference schedule, Saint Mary’s will begin conference play tonight against Trine.

Belles coach Jenn Henley said her squad (2-4) is excited for the conference season to get underway because it represents a fresh start.

“When you start conference play, it’s a brand new season,” Henley said. “The nonconference you play up to this point is to prepare you for the start of you conference season. I think that we have definitely had some great opportunities to learn what our weaknesses are and get them fixed very quickly.”

Facing unbeaten Trine (4-0), the Belles will need a quick turnaround after a pair of losses in this past weekend’s Ohio Northern Thanksgiving Classic.

“Trine is undefeated right now so they are playing with a lot of confidence,” Henley said. “They have four kids averaging double figures in terms of points and I think they are going to look to beat us from the outside with their guard play.”

The Thunder are led by senior guard Danielle Senf, a second team All-MIAA selection last year. Henley said the Belles know they will have to step up on defense against a talented group of Thunder guards.

“We’ve got to play defense for 40 minutes,” she said. “That’s been our focus for a while now. We are getting better, but we need to sustain it for an entire game, not just a half.”

While the Belles hope to improve on the defensive side of the ball, the Belles’ offense has been solid this year, averaging just under 73 points per game.

“I’m real happy where our offense is at,” Henley said. “I think we can score at any given time, based on the personnel we have on the floor, but at the end of the day we have to play defense and that’s where we have been struggling lately for the whole entire game.”

The matchup with Trine is just the beginning of the Belles’ conference season, but Henley said the Belles know their road to success needs to start immediately.

“We need to build upon where we were at last year in the conference,” Henley said. “We were picked third and that’s nice, but were not interested in third. We obviously want to win it and that’s going to get started [tonight.]”

The Belles will travel to Angola, Ind. to square off with Trine tonight at 7:30 p.m.

 

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu