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SMC Basketball: Knights lay siege to Saint Mary’s

Brendan Bell | Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The combination of poor shooting and rebounding is usually a bad omen for a team. It was no different when Saint Mary’s fell to No. 5 Calvin 73-52 on Wednesday.

Calvin (23-1, 15-1 MIAA) outrebounded Saint Mary’s (12-12, 8-7) by a 38-27 margin. Going into the game, Belles coach Jennifer Henley emphasize the importance of winning the battle on the boards.

“I would like to say our rebounding has come along, but I wasn’t happy with it against Adrian,” Henley said of the Belles’ last game.

The Knights grabbed 25 defensive rebounds compared to the Belles’ 16. One contributing factor to the Knights’ defensive rebounding margin was accurate shooting. Saint Mary’s struggled shooting from the floor, only making 20 field goals on 35 percent shooting. Calvin, on the other hand, shot 50 percent for the game.

Despite Calvin’s dominant statistics, Saint Mary’s managed to lead in the first half. With 3:22 remaining before halftime, the Belles scored to go up 20-19. Calvin responded quickly and scored eight unanswered points to take a 27-20 lead before the half.

In the second half, Saint Mary’s made another push to close the gap, making it a six-point difference.

The Knights proved to be too much, though, as they responded with a 14-0 run. From that point, Calvin never relinquished control.

The Belles utilized a balanced attack from senior guards Patsy Mahoney and Maggie Ronan, who scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Saint Mary’s senior forward Kelley Murphy led the team in scoring with 12 points.

Despite the tough loss, the Belles still look forward to their final regular season game and the conference tournament, Henley said

“We are at least fourth in the conference,” Henley said. “I’m not so sure we can get any higher than fourth but we definitely can’t do any worse than fourth.”

From 3-7 and under .500 in the league to fourth place at 12-12, the Belles have displayed an upward trend in their performance over the second half of the season, and with the fourth-place finish earned the final spot in the conference tournament.

“It’s a goal of everybody in this league to make the top four teams as this is the first year they have switched to this format,” Henley said. “I think our kids took care of some business down the stretch here to ensure that we are one of those top four teams so I think it’s a testament to them.”

Before the MIAA tournament, the Belles return home Saturday for Senior Day against Kalamazoo at 3 p.m.

Contact Brendan Bell at bbell2@nd.edu