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SMC Basketball: Belles look to qualify

Nick Boyle | Thursday, February 2, 2012

Coming off a conference win against Albion, Saint Mary’s hopes to continue its winning ways when it takes on Olivet on Saturday afternoon in Michigan.

The Belles (10-11, 6-6 MIAA) now boast a .500 record in conference play and sit in fourth place in the MIAA. They are currently in line to be one of four qualifying teams in the newly restructured MIAA playoffs.

With only four games left in the season, a win on Saturday would greatly boost Saint Mary’s chances for playoff qualification.

“This is a huge game for us, as we are only one game ahead of Olivet in conference play to this point,” Belles senior guard Patsy Mahoney said.

The Belles have already faced off against Olivet (6-14, 4-7) once this season, taking a 67-54 decision on Jan. 7.

Senior forward Kelley Murphy led the Belles in the January contest, scoring 15 points and securing 10 rebounds as Saint Mary’s led from start to finish in a dominant conference win. Mahoney and fellow senior guard Maggie Ronan also finished that game in double digits in scoring.

“To be successful on Saturday we need to do the little things right consistently,” Mahoney said. “We need to play team defense, talk, box out, and have efficient offensive possessions.”

Saint Mary’s hopes it can rely on its seniors to mimic their previous success against the Comets come Saturday.

The Belles will need to cool off a Comets team that has been hot as of late, having won three of their past four contests. Olivet has averaged 66.3 points per game in the wins, almost 14 points-per-game better than their season average.

“Going into this final stretch, we are motivated to leave everything on the court,” Mahoney said. “With five seniors realizing their collegiate career is quickly coming to an end, we are willing to do everything we possibly can to play as long as possible.”

Saint Mary’s will take the court against Olivet on Saturday at 3 p.m.