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SMC Basketball: Kessler scores 18 in Belles loss at Carthage

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Saint Mary’s (1-6) traveled to play Carthage (3-2) last night and returned home early this morning after suffering a 63-61 defeat at the hands of the Lady Reds.

With the loss, the Belles have now lost six games by a total of only 12 points.

Saint Mary’s came out sluggish after a long bus ride to Kenosha, Wis., allowing Carthage to jump to an early 18-2 lead. The Lady Reds would lead by as much as 21 in the first half and sent the Belles into the locker room with a 38-25 deficit at intermission.

For the Lady Reds in the first half, everything seemed to go right. The team shot 46.4 percent from the floor, but were able to hold the Belles to only 25.9 percent shooting. Leading the Carthage offense was forward Katie Jarger, whose 18 points was most for her team.

A different Saint Mary’s team took the court to start the second half. For the first twenty minutes of the second half the Belles outplayed the Lady Reds to the tone of a 26-12 run.

Even though the Belles came out strong offensively in the second half, they still only shot 34.4 percent. The difference, however, was in their defense. Saint Mary’s was able to stifle the Lady Red shooters, forcing them to shoot only 34.6 percent in the second half.

“We stepped up the D, caused more turnovers and ran the floor well” guard Allison Kessler said.

Kessler, who scored 18 points and was 11-of-13 from the charity stripe, noticed a transformation between the Belles of the first half and the Belles in the second half.

Freshman center Anna Kammrath was a huge presence in the paint, grabbing 17 boards and scoring 10 points – her second double-double of the season. Kammrath has dominated in the post all year and, according to Coach Henley, has been a “pleasant surprise” contributing as a freshman.

With eight minutes remaining in the game, Belles guard Bridget Lipke sank a pair of free throws to give Saint Mary’s its first lead of the night at 51-50. Lipke played 38 minutes in the contest and notched 13 points and six assists in the loss.

“We had to dig, dig, dig to get out of the hole we dug” Henley said. “[A] mental game is where we’re at right now. We’ve been playing some tough games on the road.”

But Carthage responded with a 10-1 run to retake command of the game. Lipke kept the team close after the Lady Red run, but missed on a game tying attempt at the buzzer.

The Belles travel to Albion, Mich. tomorrow to face Adrian College at 7:30 p.m.