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SMC Basketball: Belles set to face Manchester

Kate Grabarek | Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coming off a pair of home wins, the Belles travel to Manchester tonight a 7 p.m. looking for a non-conference victory.

“I think we are making progress as a team,” Belles coach Jen Henley said. “We need to continue to focus on the defensive end of the game and develop overall consistency.”

The Belles are turning to some veteran leadership this season, including senior Erin Newsom.

Newsom, a South Bend native, is the co-athlete of the week at Saint Mary’s this week, after racking up 39 points last week.

The Belles’ victory over Calvin last week was the first time they had beaten Calvin in 29 attempts.

“I think that we see all the conference teams as rivals,” Newsom said. “Some schools are seen as tougher to beat like Hope and Calvin, but we try to go into every game with the attitude that we need to play our best in order to win, regardless of the team we’re put up against.”

Along with Newsom, the Belles will turn to seniors Nicole Beier, Meghan Conaty and Katie Rashid to help improve on their fourth place finish in the conference from last year.

The Belles took a big step in the right direction with their two MIAA wins last week.

The Belles freshmen are also getting plenty of playing time early this season to help replace the loss of Alison Kessler to graduation.

“I think our freshmen class is adjusting well,” Henley said. “Our returning players have done an outstanding job in welcoming them to our team and making sure they don’t get lost along the way.”

Freshman Patsy Mahoney was able to rack up 10 points in the win over Calvin on Saturday leading the Belles freshmen. Also in the game at least nine different Belles all totaled at least five points.

“We are a completely different team this season,” Newsom said. “Especially with the addition of a large freshman class. I don’t even think the two seasons are comparable. We definitely miss having her, but we have learned other ways to be a successful team.”

Henley also noted that Manchester will be a tough team for the Belles. The Belles will need to come out with a lot of intensity and their game faces on the road in hopes of keeping their winning streak alive.

The Belles will head to Olivet Saturday for their third MIAA contest.