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SMC Basketball: Belles look to continue win streak against Hope

Kit Loughran | Wednesday, January 16, 2013

After defeating Trine 59-43 on Jan. 9, Saint Mary’s will look to follow up strong tonight against sixth-ranked Hope.. The Belles (5-11, 3-4 MIAA) enter the game on a two-game winning streak. The Belles’ victories over Albion (3-12,1-6) and Trine (9-7, 3-4) put the Belles back on track after a five-game losing streak.

Belles coach Jennifer Henley said the team is working one game at a time and not getting caught up in losing or winning streaks.

“Each time we compete, we are getting better,” Henley said. “This is such a young team and we understand that it is going to take some time to develop.”

While the Belles are still a young team, they face a veteran Hope squad. To shut down a team like Hope (14-1, 6-1) that can go very deep into its bench, the Belles will turn to their defense, Henley said.

“We need to play great defense,” Henley said. “Hope has a lot of offensive threats, and we need to play solid team defense the entire game.”

Whereas the Belles are coming off a solid win over Trine, the Dutch are entering this game after their first conference loss to No. 2 Calvin (13-1, 7-0).

Saint Mary’s sophomore forward Ariana Paul led the Belles with 18 points and 20 rebounds in the win over Trine. In the preceding game, Belles junior guard Shanlynn Bias scored 19 points in the win over Albion.

Henley recognizes the great games these two players had offensively in recent matchups, but she looks to clinch another win over Hope by concentrating on the defensive side of the game.

“It’s always about defense,” Henley said.

Despite Hope’s national ranking, Henley is confident in her team and her players.

“When it comes time to play, anything can happen,” Henley said.

Saint Mary’s will travel to Hope to play Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the DeVos Fieldhouse.

Contact Kit Loughran at kloughr1@nd.edu