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Second half rally not enough for Belles

Steve Coyer | Tuesday, January 20, 2004

In desperate need of a victory this weekend, the Belles made a strong second-half comeback but still came up short in a 70-67 loss to Alma College.

The Belles (4-11) found themselves down 45-32 at halftime after being unable to stop Alma’s powerful offense. In the second half, the Belles closed the gap with a resilient defensive effort that almost gave them the victory.

“Our defense really picked us up in the second half,” coach Suzanne Bellina said. “The lack of defensive intensity in the first half made the difference between winning and losing.”

The Belles certainly had their hands full on defense trying to contain Alma forward Karen Hall, who had a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Alma built its lead in the first half on a solid inside game and accurate shooting. The Scots shot 60 percent for the game from behind the arc.

Center Emily Creachbaum was the leading scorer for the Belles with 19 points, while guard Katie Miller chipped in 15 points with 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

Before the game, the Belles realized that a team effort would be necessary to win. After a shaky first half, the Belles regrouped and were able to move the ball better and play tighter defense.

“This probably was one of our best team efforts of the year, if you look at the assists as well as the defensive effort that was put forth,” Bellina said. “Even though we did not win the game, we walked away finding out a lot about ourselves and the level that we can play at.”

Another goal for the Belles was to avoid turnovers and careless mistakes. After giving up a staggering 25 turnovers in their loss against Adrian College, the Belles limited themselves to seven turnovers against Alma.

Despite having an improved total team effort and cutting back on turnovers, the Belles extended their losing streak to six games as Alma’s first half lead was too much to overcome. Faced with that disappointment, the Belles still have a determined outlook.

“The team attitude remains positive even with the losing streak,” Bellina said. “We plan to continue playing with the same type of intensity and focus.”