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SMC Basketball

Belles drop annual Pink Game to Adrian

| Friday, February 12, 2016

Saint Mary’s played for a charitable cause in its annual Pink Game against Adrian, but the Belles met the same fate they have suffered many times this season, falling 59-43 on Wednesday at Angela Athletic Facility.

The game began slowly, with both the Belles (1-22, 1-13 MIAA) and Bulldogs (10-11, 7-6) finding baskets hard to come by. The opening basket by Saint Mary’s senior forward Eleni Shea went unanswered for more than four minutes, and the Belles led just 4-3 over halfway through the first quarter.

The Belles held that lead until 3:43 left in the opening quarter, but the Bulldogs seized control with a 11-4 run to finish the quarter and never trailed again. Adrian increased its lead steadily throughout the remainder of the half, leading by 12 until a last-second heave by Belles senior guard Maddie Kohler resulted in a trip to the free-throw line just before the break. She converted all three attempts, trimming her team’s deficit to single digits, 32-23.

The second half began with the same defensive battle of the first half, as the two teams combined for just 11 points in the third quarter.

“We didn’t work it very well against the 2-3 zone,” Belles head coach Jennifer Henley said of her team’s play in the third quarter. “We settled for outside shots in the beginning when we should’ve been trying to attack through the paint because there are some gaps in the zone. Our game plan was to attack the gaps and if nothing else, draw the foul and get to the free-throw line, and that didn’t happen tonight.”

Saint Mary’s shot just 27 percent from the floor, their second lowest mark on the season. Only senior forward and captain Krista Knapke made it into double figures for the Belles (13 points), while the Bulldogs had four players hit that mark. Knapke also completed a double-double by pulling down 10 rebounds, while junior forward Kelsey Ronan grabbed a career-high 12 boards, but Adrian out-rebounded Saint Mary’s 51-42 for the game. The Bulldogs also committed three fewer turnovers.

Despite the loss, the Belles left the gym with their heads held high, as the game raised money and awareness for the Angel Wings organization, Henley said. All proceeds from baked goods and ticket sales went directly to the charity.

“We dedicate the Pink Game to honor former Alma College coach Keisha Brown who passed away in 2014,” Henley said. “The Angel Wings organization goes to support kids who lost a parent to cancer in the form of scholarships around Mount Pleasant, Michigan.”

The Belles are back in action against Kalamazoo for Senior Day on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Angela Athletic Facility. Following Saturday’s game, Saint Mary’s will finish its season on the road against Albion on Feb. 20.

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About R.J. Stempak

R.J. Stempak is a sophomore computer science major who enjoys basketball.

Contact R.J.