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SMC Basketball: Belles end tourney with loss to No. 11 Calvin

Allan Joseph | Friday, February 26, 2010

Saint Mary’s hung with No. 11 Calvin early but could not keep pace with the Knights’ record-setting shooting and fell 86-70 in the semifinals of the MIAA tournament Thursday. The loss effectively ended the Belles’ season, barring a surprise at-large selection for the NCAA Tournament.

The Belles (15-12, 9-7) kept the contest close during the first half, coming within one point of Calvin (23-4, 14-2) with six minutes left in the period. To do so, Saint Mary’s forced turnovers on the defensive end and turned them into points with athletic plays.

From that point, however, the Knights turned on the afterburners and took a 16-point lead into the intermission. Halftime did not slow Calvin down at all, as the Belles fell behind by as many as 33 points before the Knight reserves entered the game and the Belles were able to cut the lead back down to 16.

Calvin’s post players provided much of the offense in the game. Freshman forward Carissa VerKaik had 19 points and nine rebounds, setting a single-season school record for points.
Senior forward Brook VanEck added 14 points and freshman forward Allison Wolffis scored 12 points off the bench.

The Knights’ offensive performance set an MIAA tournament record. Their 38 field goals surpassed the previous best of 37 set by Albion in 1996. In addition, Calvin’s .585 shooting performance fell just shy of setting another tournament record, a .588 rate set by Calvin in 1994.

Saint Mary’s senior forward Anna Kammrath posted 18 points and seven rebounds in what was likely her last appearance for the Belles, while sophomore forward Kelley Murphy chipped in 14 points and four rebounds of her own despite the Knights’ inside presence.

Both forwards fouled out, however, leaving Saint Mary’s vulnerable in the post, and Calvin took full advantage en route to a victory.

With the loss, it is all but certain that the Belles’ season is over. Calvin will move on to the conference finals to face top-10 rival Hope for the MIAA championship.