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SMC Basketball: Belles start MIAA schedule

Meaghan Veselik | Wednesday, December 5, 2007

After a 2-3 start to the season, Saint Mary’s will play its first MIAA game tonight at home against Calvin at 7:30.

“We are excited to open up conference play and be playing at home tomorrow night,” Belles coach Jenn Henley said. “We will have our hands full with Calvin. They are a good team. We play in a very competitive conference, so we have to be ready all the time.”

The Belles recently went 1-1 in the Trinity University Thanksgiving Classic, taking second in the four-team tournament. They cruised past the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 92-44, in the first round but lost in the championship to nationally-ranked George Fox 69-58. Calvin lost its last two games in the MIAA/CCIW Classic at Hope College in Holland, Mich., this past weekend.

“I think Calvin is off to a good start to the season,” Henley said. “However, they are coming off two losses against Wheaton and Carthage College. I am sure they will be ready for us on Wednesday.”

Calvin has played Saint Mary’s tough in the past, but the Belles have shown themselves a capable team so far this season. Belles senior guard Alison Kessler has racked up 78 points in five games. Meanwhile, Calvin junior Marcia Harris has posted 95 points in six games. With four Belles averaging more than 10 points per game – in addition to the strong rebounding of Erin Newsom and Anna Kammrath – the Belles will try to test Calvin’s defense early and often.

“I feel we have played some very good games thus far, but we still need to improve defensively,” Henley said. “That has been our focus.”

Defense has been the Belles’ weakness so far this season. They are able to score, but when the ball is on their side of the court, Saint Mary’s has had trouble.

“We are still focusing on defending the paint,” Henley said.