Turnovers doom Belles in loss to Calvin
Andrew Robinson | Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Despite a promising comeback run early in the second half, a motivated Belles team was unable to match Calvin’s offensive firepower as the Knights pulled away for a 95-68 victory Wednesday at the Angela Athletic Complex.
Saint Mary’s (4-11, 2-4 MIAA) never led but stayed within striking distance to begin the first half, trailing Calvin (9-5, 4-2) by only one point with 14:39 remaining. Sophomore forward Krista Knapke scored several early buckets to keep them in the game, going a perfect 4-4 from the field and snagging 4 rebounds in the first half.
However, Knights’ junior guard Kayla Engelhard caught fire, making two pivotal three-pointers. She would finish the first half with 16 points. With 10:01 remaining the Belles trailed by seven, but Calvin went on an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to take a 34-18 lead, taking advantage of the Belles’ offensive miscues. St. Mary’s was unable to stop the fast pace of the Knight offense and allowed 19 points off turnovers in the first half while scoring only four off of Calvin’s giveaways, which Belle coach Jenn Henley thought was one of the biggest problems.
“We have to play better one-on-one defense and not give up so many points on transition,” Henley said, “We need to shut them down on that type of run.”
Engelhard and Knights’ junior forward Maria DeKuiper continued to make shots in the last few minutes of the half and secured a 51-31 Calvin lead heading into halftime.
When Engelhard made a three-pointer to open the second half, it seemed like the game was falling even further out of the Belles’ reach, but junior forward Ariana Paul came right back and scored, put in buckets on the following two possessions as well. After an energized Paul drew a charge, the Belles seemed revitalized and picked up steam on their 14-4 run, trailing by just 9 with 10:09 remaining.
“We talked a lot [at halftime] about creating second shot opportunities, and we started to do that well,” Henley said.
However, the Knights quickly fought back and began to pull away after back-to-back three-pointers from DeKuiper and junior forward Breanna Verkaik. With 7:22 remaining, Calvin had restored its lead to 20.
“We had good bursts, especially coming right out of the second half,” Henley said, “But it’s all about defense…We can’t give up 51 points in the first half and expect to do well.” They continued to struggle defensively as the game wore down, and the matchup ended in a 27-point loss for the Belles.
Senior guard Shanlynn Bias, the team’s leading overall scorer at 13.9 points per game, was a bright spot for Saint Mary’s, playing 37 minutes and finishing with 15 points and a team-high five assists. Knapke finished the game with a team-high 16 points.
“With Albion coming here Saturday, we’re going to have our hands full again,” Henley said, “At the end of the day we just have to play better one-on-one defense.”
Saint Mary’s will take on the Brits (6-9, 2-4), another conference opponent, at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Angela Athletic Complex.
Contact Andrew Robinson at email@example.com