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Belles finish just short in loss to Manchester

Alex West | Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saint Mary’s came up just short Wednesday afternoon, losing to cross-state rival Manchester 70-66. The Belles (4-4) watched an eight-point lead with 3:50 to play in the game disappear as they failed to make a field goal for the rest of the game.

“Any loss is hard to swallow but it was especially tough because we know we should have come out with the win,” freshman Maggie Ronan said. “We had a good lead down the stretch of the game and let them come back in the end.”

Kelly Meiklejohn who finished with 16 points for Manchester made the go-ahead jump shot to make the score 67-66 with just 21 seconds left on the clock.

“Crucial possessions were lost because of turnovers and a lack of rebounding. We didn’t score in the last three minutes of the game and they did,” freshman Kelley Murphy said.

Manchester got the ball back and hit two foul shots to stretch their lead. Ronan had a chance to tie the game in the final moments but her shot came up just short.

Manchester’s Kristen Lancaster tacked on a free throw to put the game ay 70-66 with 1 second to play.

The game was neck-and-neck throughout with the score tired at 30-30 heading into halftime. The Belles would lead most of the second half. However, Manchester shooters got hot down the stretch making over 60 percent of their field goals in the second half.

Erin Newsom continued her strong on-court performance for the Belles finishing with a team high 14 points and 12 rebounds. Murphy added 13 points coming off the bench, including going 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.

“We focus a lot on free throws and try to get better shooting percentages every day in practice,” she said.

The Belles move back into MIAA conference play this Saturday with a contest at Olivet (4-3). The Belles are tied atop the MIAA with a record of 2-0.

“I think we need to take our frustration of losing this game and put it towards making ourselves better in our next two practices before our conference game against Olivet,” Ronan said.