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SMC Basketball: Belles head to Olivet, try to slow down Comets

Meaghan Veselik | Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Comets have a full head of steam, and it’s up to Saint Mary’s to slow them down.

The Belles travel to Olivet, which has won its last three games by a combined 58 points, to face the Comets tonight at 7:30.

Saint Mary’s (4-5 MIAA, 8-9 overall) managed to hold its own Saturday against Hope (9-0 MIAA, 17-0 overall), leading 33-30 at the half. But Hope’s leading scorer Jordyn Boles hit 18 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to give her team a lead Saint Mary’s couldn’t overcome. The Belles lost 82-73.

“I thought our team played very well all last week, despite two losses,” Saint Mary’s coach Jennifer Henley said. “If we can keep that same type of focus and intensity throughout the rest of the season, we will have a strong finish.”

Regardless of the loss, Saint Mary’s put up some impressive numbers. Senior guard Alison Kessler, who leads the MIAA in scoring, scored a team-high 21 points. The Belles shot 40.3 percent from the floor and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line with four players scoring in double digits.

Kessler, however, isn’t the only scoring force on the Belles. Juniors Erin Newsom and Katie Rashid average 10.8 and 9.4 points per game, respectively. Sophomore Anna Kammrath holds her own in this group of upperclassmen with 9.9 points per game this season.

Throughout the season, the Belles have worked on their rebounding – and they are starting to see results. Saint Mary’s out-rebounded Hope this weekend 38-37 and has averaged 41.4 rebounds per game.

“I feel our rebounding has improved all season and we need to continue those efforts,” Henley said. “Our goals continue to be to improve our defense and keep points out of the paint.”

Olivet (5-3 MIAA, 7-9 overall) comes home after a three-game road winning streak. Freshman forward Ameina Ross led her team in scoring the last two games and is averaging 9.5 points per game this season.

Henley called Olivet a “strong” team with “a lot of fresh faces.”

Olivet’s new coach, Heather Bateman, served as assistant coach for the Comets for the past six seasons.

“They are a solid team,” Henley said. “I am anticipating another great game.”