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SMC Basketball: Belles face Adrian in first conference matchup

Kit Loughran | Wednesday, December 4, 2013

 

Saint Mary’s kicks off conference play today when they take on Adrian at 7:30 p.m.  

The Belles (2-4) face the Bulldogs (2-3) after a tough 77-71 loss to Defiance on Saturday. Saint Mary’s failed to capitalize on an early lead against the Yellow Jackets and dropped its fourth game of the season. 

“Right now, I think we are a little deflated after the loss against Defiance,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. “Fortunately, we have [had three] days to regroup and get ready for Adrian.” 

The Belles allowed the Yellow Jackets a 9-0 run late in the second half, and they have focused their preparation for the game against the Bulldogs on the issue of allowing teams to score so many unanswered points. 

“We continue to emphasize team defense,” Henley said. “We can’t get caught up in trading baskets during key stretches.” 

The Bulldogs also enter the game suffering a recent loss. Adrian fell 64-49 to Siena Heights on Nov. 26. The Bulldogs were unable to recover after Siena Heights had a 14-0 run in the first half. Adrian is led by senior guard LaQwana Dockery and senior forward Amy Van Gessel. Dockery scored a game-high 17 points and Van Gessel grabbed 13 rebounds against Siena Heights.

The Belles are led by sophomore forward Krista Knapke and her career-high 24 points and 17 rebounds against Defiance. 

Despite the Belles’ four losses, they feel prepared to begin conference play, Henley said. 

“We have to keep in mind that we needed to use our non-conference opponents as a way to prepare for MIAA play,” Henley said. 

The Belles look forward to facing Adrian and have generated a specific strategy with the skills they developed during the past few games. 

“Adrian is a solid team who traditionally likes to run, so we need to continue to focus on our transition defense, controlling the boards and getting to the foul line,” Henley said. 

The Belles take on the Bulldogs to open conference play Wednesday at Merillat Sport and Fitness Center in Adrian, Mich. at 7:30 p.m

Contact Kit Loughran at kloughr1@nd.edu