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Belles look to find consistency against Ravens

Meaghan Veselik | Tuesday, November 20, 2007

After bringing in their first victory of the year against Aurora University on Saturday, Saint Mary’s faces Anderson University tonight at 7 p.m.

The Belles lost 75-56 in their season opener to Wheaton College on Friday in the Lee Pfund Invitational at Wheaton, but rebounded with an 83-47 win against Aurora.

“We are excited to have the season underway. Anderson will be a good challenge for us on Tuesday,” Belles coach Jennifer Henley said. “We did not play as well as we could have against Wheaton College. Our second-half defense was terrible. This team bounced back the next day and did a much better job with Aurora.”

The Belles, with 77 rebounds in their first two games, are in a bit of a rebuilding phase. Star guard Bridget Lipke graduated in May, though all-MIAA shooting guard Alison Kessler is poised to take over some of Lipke’s responsibilities.

Kessler has gracefully stepped into Lipke’s shoes in terms of team leadership, on the court and with her stats. She leads the team with 16 points per game and is tied for fourth in rebounds with junior Katie Rashid. She is closely followed in points by junior Erin Newsom, who has 15 per game. Newsom leads the team in rebounds with a total of nine.

As Saint Mary’s prepares to take on Anderson, Henley has a few improvements she would like to see on the court.

“We still need to establish a stronger inside game,” Henley said. “We need to have more control on the boards and continue improving our free-throw percentage.”

Henley expects Anderson to make the Belles work tonight. The Ravens will be looking for revenge after a three-point loss last season to the Belles. Kessler sunk a free throw and Newsom hit a lay-up to pull out the last minute victory.

“Anderson is going to be very physical and have a lot of hard denial defense,” Henley said. “They are a solid team.”