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SMC Basketball: Belles push for MIAA’s

Fowler, Ken | Friday, February 11, 2005

With a win this weekend at home against Alma, the Belles can climb to fifth in the MIAA and hold out hope for the fourth seed in the upcoming league tournament.

With a loss, Saint Mary’s will fall to next-to-last in the conference and five games under .500 on the season, which would mark the team’s worst record this year.

Further illustrating the importance of Saturday’s game, the MIAA has added a play-in game this year to deal with the addition of a ninth team, Tri-State, to the league.

If the Belles finish the season next-to-last in the conference, the team will have to play an extra game before getting the opportunity to face the No. 1 seed – either Albion, Hope or Calvin – in the tournament. Since joining the MIAA, the Belles have gone a combined 2-42 against those three teams, with both wins coming against Albion.

But such a scenario can be avoided if Saint Mary’s wins at least two of its final three games.

That starts with Alma at 3 p.m. Saturday.

This will be the teams’ second meeting of the year, following a thrilling overtime game on Saturday, Jan. 15, which Alma pulled out, 77-71. Bridget Boyce hit a jumper for the Belles as time expired in regulation to force the extra session, but the Scots scored 15 points in overtime for the win.

Now would be the perfect time for Saint Mary’s to get a little payback.

“We definitely want to get revenge … and having the game on our home court is definitely [something we want],” freshman guard Alison Kessler said.

In the teams’ first meeting, Kessler started the game, replacing the injured Katie Boyce. Now that Boyce is back, however, Kessler has returned to her role off the bench.

She scored nine points against Adrian on Wednesday, and says she has taken the transition well.

“I’m just happy that Katie’s back,” Kessler said.

The Belles as a team, though, have not fared well at all since getting back to .500 with a Jan. 24 win over Tri-State. Saint Mary’s has lost four in a row to fall to 9-13 overall, 4-9 MIAA. Alma (9-10, 4-9) comes into the game in a four-way tie with the Belles, Kalamazoo and Adrian for fifth in the league, and the stakes are just as high for the Scots as they are for the Belles.

Alma will look to contain Saint Mary’s powerhouse Emily Creachbaum, who is coming off a tough contest against Adrian on Wednesday. Averaging over 13 points per game on the year, Creachbaum shot just three-for-18 against Adrian.

A key for the Belles will be to shut down Alma’s Katey Peacock, who scored 27 in Alma’s last contest, a 67-58 loss to Hope. The forward scored 25 points in 42 minutes against the Belles in their prior meeting.