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SMC Basketball

Belles’ rally falls short in loss to Bulldogs

| Thursday, January 30, 2014

After a closely-contested first half in which the Belles tied or led for most of the time, Adrian and its sharpshooting guards made an early second-half run to pull away and secure a 76-66 victory over Saint Mary’s on Wednesday night.

Both coming off losses to Olivet, the Belles (5-13, 3-6 MIAA) and the Bulldogs (9-9, 5-5) entered the game hoping to get back on their feet to begin the second round of conference play.

Saint Mary's sophomore guard Maddie Kohler defends during the Belles' 95-68 loss to Calvin on Jan. 15.Caroline Greco

Saint Mary’s sophomore guard Maddie Kohler defends during the Belles’ 95-68 loss to Calvin on Jan. 15.

Saint Mary’s got off to an early lead, which it held for much of the first half as it traded baskets with the Bulldogs.

“We got some good looks offensively,” Belles coach Jenn Henley said. “I thought when we attacked, we were very effective.”

The balanced Saint Mary’s offense continued to create good chances against Adrian’s athletic zone defense, and with 5:33 to play, the Belles held a 23-21 lead. But Bulldogs senior guard Lauren Rhoads drained a 3-pointer to shift the momentum, and the half ended with Adrian leading 34-31.

Bulldogs senior guard LaQwana Dockery began the second half with nine points in 2:49 to ignite a 13-4 run. Henley saw her early spark as a decisive part of the game.

“They went on big runs at the start of the second half,” Henley said. “We were never able to get back in it after that.”

Rhoads then made 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Bulldogs up 52-40 with 12:18 remaining.

Saint Mary’s put up a fight offensively, with sophomore forwards Eleni Shea and Krista Knapke each scoring eight in the second half. The trouble, Henley said, was on the defensive end.

“Adrian did a good job reading the gaps,” she said. “But at the end of the day it comes down to stopping the paint points … and points coming from turnovers.”

Adrian continued to find holes on the other end of the floor and remained with a comfortable lead. Dockery finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Rhoads’ 22 points helped carry the Bulldogs to the win.

For the Belles, Knapke finished the game with 16 points and seven rebounds, and junior Ariana Paul was the next highest contributor with 13 points and eight rebounds.

Saint Mary’s now turns its attention to Trine, another conference opponent. Henley hopes to take advantage of the Belles’ frontcourt edge against the Thunder (4-13, 1-7).

“We should have a height advantage against Trine at the offensive end and we need to find ways to exploit their gaps and use this,” she said.

In their first matchup on Dec. 14, the Belles defeated the Thunder 60-42, and Henley stressed the importance of focusing on defense again.

“If we can’t find a way to get stops, we’re going to be in trouble regardless of who our opponent is,” she said.

Saint Mary’s will travel to Trine to take on the Thunder this Saturday at 3 p.m.

Contact Andrew Robinson at arobins6@nd.edu

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About Andrew Robinson

I'm a freshman from St. Louis, MO and I'm an accounting and sociology major at Notre Dame, living in Keenan Hall.

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