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SMC Basketball: Saint Mary’s earns berth in MIAA tournament

Nick Boyle | Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In a season filled with ups and downs, Saint Mary’s ultimately accomplished the goal it set for itself at the beginning of the season. The Belles overcame much adversity, leading to a fourth-place MIAA finish, which was good enough to earn a berth in the conference tournament.

“Looking back on the season, I am very proud of what this team accomplished,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. “We played our toughest schedule in over six years, facing several top-25 teams.”

Saint Mary’s struggled early in the season, falling to 3-7 after its first 10 games. But gradually, the Belles were able to turn their season around, winning consecutive conference games against Kalamazoo, Alma and Trine to bring their conference record back to 5-5.

After a long season of twists and turns, the Belles were able to move their overall record over .500 with a 68-43 home win over Alma. This put Saint Mary’s record at 12-11 (8-6 MIAA) and clinched a playoff spot for the Belles.

“Towards the end of the season, we were playing our best basketball and we accomplished one of our goals and made it to the MIAA tournament,” Henley said.

Saint Mary’s was led this season by its core group of seniors. Seniors forward Jessica Centa, forward Kelley Murphy and guard Patsy Mahoney all earned All-MIAA honors for the Belles, while senior guards Maggie Ronan and Katie Sullivan also played large roles in the team’s success.

“It will be sad to say goodbye to my five seniors,” Henley said. “They have certainly laid the foundation for our program and pushed it to a new level over the past four years. I will miss them all.”

The Belles ended their season with a loss to top-ranked Calvin in the MIAA tournament. The team finished with an even 13-13 record overall, while going 9-7 in conference play.

Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu