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SMC Basketball

Belles suffer overtime loss to Kalamazoo

| Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Saint Mary’s lost an overtime thriller to Kalamazoo, 71-70, on Saturday at Angela Athletic Facility.

After the Belles (3-19, 1-12 MIAA) started the game with a 6-0 lead, the Hornets (14-7, 9-4 MIAA) responded by scoring 12 of the next 14 points to go up 12-8. However, Saint Mary’s went on a 12-4 run to gain a 20-16 lead with the first half winding down. The teams continued to go back and forth for the remainder of the first frame, and the Belles went into the locker room at halftime with a 27-24 lead.

Saint Mary’s senior guard Ariana Paul looks to pass during a 70-58 loss to Trine on Jan. 28 at Angela Athletic Facility. Paul had a team-high 21 points against Kalamazoo in Saturday’s 71-70 loss.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer

Saint Mary’s senior guard Ariana Paul looks to pass during a 70-58 loss to Trine on Jan. 28 at Angela Athletic Facility. Paul had a team-high 21 points against Kalamazoo in Saturday’s 71-70 loss.

With just under five minutes left in regulation, the Saint Mary’s led Kalamazoo, 51-49. The Belles then went on an 8-1 run to hold a 59-50 advantage with just over two minutes to go. Kalamazoo fought back and trailed by just two points with 30 seconds remaining. After a made Saint Mary’s free throw, Kalamazoo got the ball and attempted a tying 3-pointer that missed, but a rebound by the Hornets and a foul by the Belles gave Kalamazoo life again.

After Kalamazoo made both free throws, the Hornets fouled senior guard Ariana Paul to send her to the free-throw line. Paul was perfect from the charity stripe to push the Belles lead back to three. However, with just 0.3 seconds left, the Hornets drew a foul on a three-point attempt, sending them to the line for three shots. They made all of them, and the game headed to overtime with the score tied at 62.

Kalamazoo got out to an early 66-62 lead in overtime, but the Belles battled back and were able to take a 68-66 lead with just over two minutes remaining. The Hornets evened up the score before Saint Mary’s sank two free throws, and then Kalamazoo tied it up again with two free throws of their own and stole the ball on the ensuing Belle possession.

The Belles fouled, and the Hornets were able to make one free throw for a one-point lead with just over 10 seconds remaining. After two Saint Mary’s attempts at a game-winning shot came up short, a jump ball rebound gave the ball back to the Belles with two seconds remaining on the game clock. Junior forward Krista Knapke caught the inbound pass and attempted the game-winning shot, but she missed, and time expired to give the Hornets a 71-70 win.

“The game against Kalamazoo was a great game,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. “It was a heartbreaker in the end, but we did so many things right on Saturday. We put ourselves in in a position to win the game in both regulation and overtime and just came up short in the end. I am so proud of how hard this team played.”

Paul was the Belles’ leading scorer with 21 points, and she added nine rebounds as well. Knapke recorded 17 points to go along with a team-high 10 rebounds. Junior forward Eleni Shea had 10 points and four rebounds, while freshman forward Molly Robinson had 10 points and three rebounds.

“As we get ready for Calvin, we need to continue to work on our transition defense and not give away points at the free throw line,” Henley said.

The Belles final home game is against conference opponent Calvin on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Angela Athletic Facility.

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