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SMC Basketball: Belles look to shake off loss to Hope against Vikings

Bill Brink | Friday, December 1, 2006

Fresh off a 67-42 loss to Hope in its first conference game, Saint Mary’s will try to regroup in its second of five games on the road against North Park tonight.

The Belles continued to be hampered by turnovers, losing possession 29 times against Hope. The youth of the team factored into the prevalence of turnovers, said head coach Jennifer Henley, but it was not the only culprit.

“We need to do a better job of recognizing defense before passing,” she said.

The Belles face a tough Viking offense led by senior guards Laura Mount and Lauren Martin. Martin shoots a fiery 60 percent from three-point range, and Mount leads the team in scoring with 16.7 points per game. Stopping them will be a challenge.

“We need to contain Martin Friday night,” Henley said. “She is a very good shooter. We will have to find her in transition and make her work for every shot.”

The Belles are up to the task, however. The Saint Mary’s defense held Hope junior guard Jordan Boles – who has shot 43.2 percent from the field on the season – to just six points on 3-of-11 shooting.

“Boles is a great player. We told the team to find her in transition and not give any help off of her defensively,” Henley said. “Alison Kessler guarded her most of the evening and she really did a nice job on her.”

Even if the defense performs well, the Vikings – who sink 43.8 percent of their field goal attempts – will ensure that the game will be a shootout. Saint Mary’s must keep up on offense as well.

“We always want to look to score in transition and have that up tempo style of basketball,” Henley said. “We will rely on our defense and rebounding to take care of Martin, Mount and [junior forward Evie] Peterson.”

For this to happen, Saint Mary’s offensive leaders – Kessler and senior guard Bridget Lipke – will have to perform better than against Hope, a game in which they combined to shoot 19 percent from the field.

“Hope focused on shutting down Lipke and Kessler, like we expected them to,” Henley said. “They have been our leaders from the beginning.”

In addition, the post players will have to do a better job of producing and making their presence known.

“We have been telling our post players all season that they need to step up and be a factor,” Henley said. “Anna [Kammrath] did a great job on the boards for us and got some easy buckets.”