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SMC Basketball: Belles’ comeback falls short

Kit Loughran | Monday, February 11, 2013

 

Despite its attempt at a comeback, Saint Mary’s fell to Alma in a 72-61 decision Saturday at Art Smith Arena in Alma, Mich

Saint Mary’s (5-19, 3-12 MIAA), which trailed by 21 points late in the second half, went on a 15-0 run to bring the game within six points, but Alma (7-15, 6-8) stood its ground and stopped the Belles’ momentum to secure its victory. 

The Belles opened the game with baskets by junior guard Shanlynn Bias and freshman forward Eleni Shea to gain a 6-0 lead. Despite back-and-forth lead changes between the Belles and the Scots, Alma eventually broke through with six consecutive points to take a 16-11 lead. Saint Mary’s senior guard Kayla Wolter and Shea hit back-to-back shots to keep the Belles within reach of the Scots, but it was Alma who took a 41-28 lead into the half. 

The Scots immediately took off to start the second half and secured a 21-point lead. With eight minutes left in the game, the Belles took charge. Forcing the Scots into committing seven turnovers and five fouls, the Belles went on a 15-0 run. Bias and Wolter combined to make seven free throws, while Shea, junior forward Katherine Wabler and freshman forward Krista Knapke combined to score eight points and bring the game to 67-61 with two minutes left. 

In the last two minutes of play, Alma terminated the Belles’ run with a layup and two free-throws following a foul made by the Belles. Saint Mary’s only shot one free throw during the last minute of the game, and Alma secured the 71-62 decision. 

Even though Saint Mary’s lost, the team has several reasons to be proud, Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. 

“We had moments of great basketball tonight,” Henley said. “The team worked so hard tonight, and I am proud of their effort.” 

The team’s effort was seen in the individual successes of the Belles players. Bias led the team with 18 points, while Knapke took 17 points and 11 rebounds. Shea also contributed 14 points in the losing effort.

The Belles now approach their final conference game of the season against Hope. Saint Mary’s will look to continue improving its game in preparation, Henley said. 

“We have to continue to improve our transition defense,” she said. 

The Belles face Hope on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Angela Athletic Facility

Contact Kit Loughran at kloughr1@nd.edu