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SMC Basketball

Saint Mary’s ends losing streaks with win over Kalamazoo

| Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Saint Mary’s snapped its 18-game overall and 25-game MIAA losing streaks Saturday with a 62-47 victory over Kalamazoo.

The Belles (2-19, 1-12 MIAA) took an early 9-3 lead on the back of a 7-0 run. Although the Hornets (3-18, 2-10) took the lead back, a 10-2 Saint Mary’s run during a stretch lasting less than three minutes helped push the Belles to a 21-16 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Saint Mary’s limited Kalamazoo to just five points on 2-of-15 shooting, extending its lead to 35-21. Scoring efficiency separated the teams in the first half, as the Belles made 15-of-30 shots, while holding the Hornets to 6-of-27 shooting from the floor.

Although Saint Mary’s started the second quarter with a 3-pointer from freshman forward Megan Will, an 11-0 Hornets run put its chances of holding on for a first conference victory on the season in doubt, as its lead was cut to just six points. Will, however, hit a jumper as time expired in the quarter to stop Kalamazoo’s momentum and extend her team’s lead to eight points.

Neither team scored for the first two minutes of the final quarter, but Will extended the Belles’ lead to double-digits with the first basket of the period with 7:59 left in the game. Saint Mary’s continued to stifle the Hornets offense as the final period went on, with the first Kalamazoo score coming with only 3:15 remaining and cutting the lead to 55-43. Although the Hornets added two more points from the field and two from the line, the Belles comfortably held on, winning the game 62-47.

The result marked many milestones for a Belles program struggling to find victories in recent times. As well as being the first MIAA victory since December 2015 for Saint Mary’s, it was also the largest Belles win since November 2014 and the largest Saint Mary’s MIAA win since December 2013.

Will led the Belles in scoring with 16 points on 7-10 shooting, while junior forward Gabby Diamond scored 13 points and added 14 rebounds. Sophomore guard Erin Maloney had a game-high seven assists. The Bellles outrebounded Kalamazoo 47-31 and held the Hornets to 14-of-53 shooting.

The Belles will hope to build on the victory when they travel to Alma on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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