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SMC Basketball: Belles rally but fall short to Hope

Brendan Bell | Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Saint Mary’s hopes of winning consecutive conference games went out the window Wednesday, as the Belles fell to No. 15 Hope 74-56.

The Belles (3-6, 1-2 MIAA) trailed the entire game, after the Flying Dutch (7-1, 3-0) took an 11-point lead early on. Hope came out aggressive in the first half, as senior guard Maddie Burnett tallied nine points in the opening minutes for the Flying Dutch. Hope broke away with a 13-4 run with six minutes to play in the half and by halftime led 34-19.

Hope contributed to its lead by attacking the basket and shooting just under 45 percent for the game. Along with Burnett’s 17 points, junior forward Courtney Kust added 15 points for the Flying Dutch.

The Belles offense showed a balanced attack as well, as senior forwards Jessica Centa and Kelley Murphy scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Saint Mary’s grabbed more rebounds and also had eight more shots than Hope. Despite the strong effort on the boards, mistakes plagued Saint Mary’s. The Belles turned the ball over 17 times in the first half.

Saint Mary’s cleaned up its play in the second half and came within five points of the Flying Dutch at 53-48. But with the game in reach for the Belles, the Flying Dutch went on a 15-2 run to set the score at 68-50 with only 2:47 left, all but securing the win for Hope.

This weekend, Saint Mary’s will look to get back on track against No. 2 Chicago, led by senior guards Bryanne Halfhill and Meghan Herrick. The undefeated Maroons (7-0) will be the fourth ranked team the Belles have faced this year with tipoff set at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Angela Athletic Facility.