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SMC Basketball

Belles look to even season matchups against Trine

| Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Saint Mary’s takes on Trine for the second time this season Wednesday.

In the first contest between the two teams on Dec. 12, the Thunder (12-7, 5-6) came out victorious, 71-40, with the Belles shooting 27 percent to the Thunder’s 50 percent.

The Belles (1-19, 1-10 MIAA) currently rank ninth in the conference, while Trine (12-7, 5-6) stands ahead at fifth. The Thunder are averaging 64.5 points, 35.9 rebounds and nearly 12 assists per game. Behind the Thunder’s success are sophomores forward Haley Martin and guard Brandi Dawson. The sophomore duo leads the team in points with 15.2 and 13.3 points per game, respectively. Martin leads the team in rebounding with 6.7 per game, while Dawson leads the team in three-point shooting, converting on 36.7 percent of her attempts.

Saint Mary’s head coach Jennifer Henley said slowing the pair down will be vital for the Belles.

“We have to have a great team effort on Haley Martin and Brandi Dawson — both former Division I players now playing for Trine this season,” Henley said. “Martin does a lot for them in the paint, while Dawson is really quick off the drive.

“They work very well together and lead Trine on the offensive end.”

Offensively, the Belles have averaged 61 points per game over their last two games, which puts them above their season average of 55.2. Saint Mary’s has not only scored in bulk but also efficiently, posting 43 and 46 percent shooting in their previous two games.

Continuing this trend will put the Belles in a strong position against the Thunder, Henley said.

“Against Trine last time, we got good looks at the basket, just couldn’t get them to fall,” Henley said. “We have to work hard to get paint points this time around.”

Senior forwards Eleni Shea and Krista Knapke are tasked with scoring inside for the Belles. Shea, who has averaged 21.5 points per game over the last two outings, will continue to be the fulcrum point for the Belles as scoring high-percentage shots from the paint remains critical to the Belles’ offense. Another senior captain, guard Maddie Kohler, enters Wednesday’s matchup coming off a career-high 17 points against Alma on Sunday. A source of offense from the perimeter, Kohler adds to the Belles’ ability to beat the Trine defense, which currently holds opponents to just 36 percent shooting on the season.

The Belles look to even the season series against Trine on Wednesday at Angela Athletic Facility at 7:30 p.m.

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About R.J. Stempak

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

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