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SMC Basketball: Belles fall at home to No. 4 Calvin College

Nick Boyle | Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Saint Mary’s was unable to hand No. 4 Calvin College its first loss Wednesday night, as the undefeated Knights took down the Belles 80-54.

Calvin (16-0, 8-0 MIAA) utilized a strong defensive performance in the victory, forcing the Belles (7-10, 3-5) to shoot 18 for 67 (26.9 percent) from the field.

“We struggled on offense tonight,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. “We got some great looks, we just weren’t hitting [our shots].”

Calvin started the game with a bang, jumping out to an 11-2 lead only five minutes into the contest. Saint Mary’s was able to cut the lead to seven points halfway through the period on a pair of free throws by senior guard Patsy Mahoney, but the Knights responded with a 12-5 run to extend their lead to 25-11 with 4:33 left in the half. The first half ended with the Knights up by 12.

The second half featured more dominance from the Knights, as the visitors opened up a 25-point lead 8:43 into the second half, going up 56-31. The Belles were able to pull within 19 points twice, but the Knights proved to be too much for Saint Mary’s, using a strong defense and an explosive offense to keep the game out of reach.

Calvin hit 21 second-half shots totaling 51 points, as the game ended with a 26-point margin in favor of the Knights.

“Calvin came out of halftime and executed very well in the second half,” Henley said.

The Belles were led by Mahoney, who scored 15 points, senior guard Maggie Ronan, who added 12 points, and senior forward Kelley Murphy, who notched her 20th career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite the loss, Henley said her team could still learn from the game.

“I thought our kids played a very good team tonight,” Henley said. “There’s a reason Calvin is ranked No. 4 (Division III) in the country”.

The Belles will next take the court Saturday night when they travel to Alma College for a conference game.

Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu