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SMC Basketball: Belles hope to continue momentum against Trine

Nick Boyle | Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coming off a victory over Alma College, Saint Mary’s looks to start a winning streak when it hosts conference foe Trine tonight.

Saint Mary’s (8-10, 4-5 MIAA) used a late scoring run and clutch free throw shooting on Saturday to defeat Alma by 69-61.

“Anytime you can win on the road in this league, it is very important,” Belles head coach Jenn Henley said. “While I don’t believe we were satisfied with how we played against Alma, we were certainly glad to get the win. I think we hit some key free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach in the closing minutes.”

Saint Mary’s will look to keep its momentum from the win flowing into its second meeting with Trine (9-9, 3-6) this season. The Belles lost to the Thunder 67-59 in the teams’ first contest.

Saint Mary’s has been led this season by a balanced scoring attack, featuring four players averaging double figures. Seniors forward Jessica Centa, forward Kelley Murphy, guard Patsy Mahoney and guard Maggie Ronan all average at least 10 points per game for the Belles. Together with senior guard Katie Sullivan, they form a core group of senior leaders that Henley said she expects to take charge against Trine on Nov. 30.

“As we face Trine on Wednesday, I am expecting all five of our seniors to step up for us … more so at the defensive end,” Henley said.

Although they are averaging an MIAA third-best 63.1 points per game this season, the Belles rank second-to-last in scoring defense at 64.2 points per game allowed.

Entering a crucial final month of the season, Henley picked out specific areas her team must improve in order to be successful as the season winds down, including the defensive end of the floor and the frontcourt.

“As a team, we need to get back to a more disciplined style of basketball,” Henley said. “We need to focus more on stopping the drives in transition and controlling the boards at both ends.”

Saint Mary’s will face off against Trine at home tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu