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SMC Basketball: Belles prepare for sixth-ranked Hope

Allan Joseph | Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Saint Mary’s (8-3, 3-1 MIAA) looks to continue its momentum from a strong semester break with a home game tonight against conference rival and sixth-ranked Hope College (12-1, 4-0).

Hope has dropped only one game all season — an early-season away game in Atlanta — so the Flying Dutch present the Belles’ toughest test so far.

The team’s break was highlighted by a second-place finish after Christmas in the AmyHasbrook Memorial Tournament at DePauw and a road win at Kalamazoo after New Year’s (the win was Belles coach Jennifer Henley’s 50th at the College). Saint Mary’s senior forward Anna Kammrath and sophomore forward Kelley Murphy were named to the All-Tournament team.

Hope will pose a challenge to the Belles’ defense, as the Flying Dutch average nearly 80 points a game.

“They have a lot of offensive weapons,” Henley said. “They have a very deep bench with a lot of experience.”

Nearly the whole team has contributed offensively for the Flying Dutch, and the leading scorer only averages 12.8 points per game, indicating that any of the players on the floor can score at any time. Hope also averages seven three-point baskets a game, so Saint Mary’s will look to pressure the outside shot.

To stop the Hope attack, the Belles will look to Kammrath to contribute on both ends of the floor, as well as junior Liz Wade, sophomore Patsy Mahoney, and Murphy. Kammrath, who recently surpassed 700 career rebounds, will especially be needed to limit Hope’s second chances.

Saint Mary’s has had a week since its last game, and without classes, has had ample time to prepare for the biggest home game of the season against a perennial Division III power.

“Hope is going to be our toughest game to date,” Henley said.

The two teams meet in the fight for MIAA supremacy at 7:30 p.m. at Angela Athletic Facility.