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SMC Basketball: Belles win easily over Cardinals

Allan Joseph | Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Saint Mary’s traveled to Naperville, Ill. Saturday and defeated North Central on the road.
The Belles (3-1) broke away from the Cardinals (2-2) midway through the first half and never looked back, winning by a final score of 91-57.

The Belles were locked with North Central with eight minutes remaining in the half when sophomore guard Maggie Ronan sank a jump shot to give Saint Mary’s a lead it would not relinquish for the rest of the contest.

At halftime, the Cardinals trailed but remained within striking distance at 38-28. In the second half, however, the Belles used a 12-2 run to put away any thoughts of a North Central comeback.

Sophomore forward Kelley Murphy led the team with 18 points, while four other players scored in the double digits. Junior guard Liz Wade fell one assist short of a single-game school record, racking up 11 over the course of the game.

Saint Mary’s benefited not only from good ball distribution but from razor-sharp shooting — the Belles shot over 59 percent from the floor, one of the most accurate showings in recent history. In addition, Saint Mary’s scored more than 90 points for the first time since a 91-84 win against Hope on Jan. 3.

Belles coach Jenn Henley said she was happy with the shooting performance, especially the high shooting percentage.

“We did shoot well against North Central,” she said. “We were able to get inside and get a lot of looks in the paint.”

In addition, Henley said she was happy with the offensive rebounding and ability of the Belles to create “easy transition layups” with defensive pressure, especially in the second half.

The depth of the team and wide scoring distribution were also cause for the coach to be optimistic looking forward this season.

“Anytime we can go deep in our bench, [we] get stronger as a team,” Henley said. “That type of depth will be needed in order to be successful down the stretch.”

The Belles face their next test at home against Ohio Northern Wednesday night, followed by an MIAA home game against Trine Saturday afternoon.