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SMC Basketball: Saint Mary’s takes down Alma to earn first conference win

Peter Steiner | Sunday, December 4, 2011

With a convincing 72-50 victory over Alma, the Belles snapped a three-game losing streak and returned to a .500 record in conference play.

The Belles combined a strong offense with an improved defensive effort to garner their first MIAA win this season, Saint Mary’s coach Jenn Henley said.

“I was very pleased with today’s game. I thought our defense was much improved,” she said. “I think offensively we worked the ball a little bit better than what we had in the past and we took better shots within our sets.”

The Belles (3-5, 1-1 MIAA) took control of the game early with a 25-4 run three minutes into the first half, but the Scots (1-5, 1-1) countered with a 9-1 run of their own, cutting the Belles’ lead to eight going into halftime. According to Henley, the Belles learned from this lapse in defense to pick up the intensity in the second half.

“[The Scots’ 9-1 run] really gave them a lot of momentum heading into halftime,” Henley said. “We talked about that a lot at halftime. We are such an offensive-minded team that we need to realize that even when we score, we have to get stops. We can’t start trading baskets, and I think we did a much better job of that in the second half.”

Coming out of halftime, the Belles proved they could play both offense and defense. Only eight minutes into the second half, the Belles had gained a 25-point lead, limiting the Scots to eight points in that stretch. With points coming from five different Belles players after the 12-minute mark, the Belles’ lead never dropped below 17 points.

Yet it was Saint Mary’s defense that spurred its offense, leading to 37 points off turnovers and contributing 44 rebounds that helped propel the team to victory. Senior guards Patsy Mahoney and Maggie Ronan also added 19 points and 15 points, respectively, for the Belles.

Overall, Henley said she was extremely satisfied with her team’s play Saturday.

“They all played well,” Henley said Saturday. “They all worked so hard in practice, and they had a really nice chemistry out on the floor tonight.”

The Belles look to continue Saturday’s success Wednesday when they travel to play Hope in another MIAA matchup.

 

Contact Peter Steiner at psteiner@nd.edu