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SMC Basketball

Belles focus on Kalamazoo

| Thursday, February 6, 2014

Coming off an 87-54 loss to Calvin on Wednesday, Saint Mary’s looks to get back on a winning track Saturday when it plays host to Kalamazoo.

In the teams’ first matchup Jan. 11, the Hornets (11-8, 7-4 MIAA) stymied a late Belles (6-14, 4-7) rally to escape with a 70-67 win. Junior forward Ariana Paul led the Belles with 16 points and nine rebounds, but missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining to all but assure the loss for the Belles.

“We have to be able to play better one-on-one defense and box out much better,” Belles coach Jenn Henley said after the matchup.

Henley reiterated that point Thursday, noting that better defense was especially important in light of Calvin’s 87-point output Wednesday.

“Again, better defense is something I need to see coming down the homestretch of the season, especially as our youth continue to grow,” Henley said.

Kalamazoo is led by the duo of forward Nicole Antoine and guard Emily Lindsay. Antoine comes into the game averaging 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds, both team-highs. Lindsay is averaging 11.1 points per game, second for the Hornets.

“Our success will depend on our team defense on [Antoine and Lindsay],” Henley said. “They’re the two offensive threats we have to worry about. We also have to cut down on turnovers, and try to open up our transition offense.”

Saint Mary’s turned the ball over 21 times against Calvin (14-6, 9-1) and failed to convert a single fast break bucket in Belles and Hornets’ first matchup.

In Saint Mary’s loss to Calvin, the Belles fell behind early before a 32-8 Calvin run over the last 10 and a half minutes of the opening half effectively put the game away. The Belles played the Knights – who currently sit third in the MIAA standings — much closer in the second half, as they were outscored just 35-32.

Sophomore forward Krista Knapke led the Belles with 11 points, while senior guard Shanlynn Bias and Paul both chipped in 10 points.

As the Belles head into the homestretch of their season, Henley said the team’s focus has now shifted to finishing the year off on a high note and building momentum for next season.

“The most important thing we can do is play together as a team and send our seniors off on a positive note,” Henley said.

The Belles and Hornets tip off at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Angela Athletic Center.

 

 

 

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