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SMC Basketball: Belles on to MIAA title game

Alex West | Friday, February 27, 2009

With a win over Calvin on Thursday night, Saint Mary’s has punched their first ever ticket to the MIAA Championship.

The Belles defeated the Knights 67-58 at the Angela Athletic Complex to add one more chapter to their already successful season.

In the first half, the Knights (16-10) took an early 7-2 advantage. The Belles (17-9) were able to respond with an eight-point run, primarily from taking advantage of second chance opportunities.

The Belles continued to lead for the rest of the first half, leading by much as 11 points with just over six and a half minutes to play, holding a 31-23 halftime lead.

Most of the Belles success in the first half came from points in the paint by senior forwards Erin Newsom and Anna Kammrath.

The Belles played well defensively against the Knights in the first half. Newsom and Kammrath dominated the defensive glass, preventing the Knights from having many second-chance opportunities.

After halftime, it seemed that the Knights had made some second-half adjustments, playing the Belles much closer on defense and preventing Kammrath and Newsom from getting rebounds off missed shots.

The Belles held a 49-32 lead about halfway through the second half until the Knights had two consecutive three-point plays that sparked a Calvin rally. The Knights cut the Belle lead to just 11 points with eight minutes remaining the in the contest.

The determined Knights continued the chip away at the Belle lead, cutting the deficit to as low as eight points with 2:15 remaining. With under a minute to play, Newsom hit four free throws that sealed the game for the Belles and put the Knights away for good.

Saturday’s finals match up is a rematch against Hope College. The season series is tied, with the Belles giving Hope their only loss of the season. The game will be played at Hope Saturday at 3 p.m.