The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC Basketball: Belles split weekend games

Joe Wirth | Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Belles suffered their first loss of the season Saturday but rebounded Sunday to improve to 5-1 in nonconference play.

Playing at the Julie Costello Memorial Classic, hosted by Thomas More in Crestview Hills, Ky., Saint Mary’s fell to Wilmington, 57-44, and beat Otterbein, 56-51.

Interim Belles coach Patrick Daniel said the win was crucial for the team to avoid any negative momentum heading into conference play.

“It is always key to be able to bounce back from a loss in your next game. No team wants to be on a losing streak, and we certainly did not want to enter conference play on a two-game losing streak,” Daniel said.

Forward Kelley Murphy and guard Patsy Mahoney, both juniors, were name to the all-tournament team.

Murphy tallied a double-double with a game high 26 points and 13 rebounds against Otterbein. Junior guard Patsy Mahoney also registered double digits with 14 points in the winning effort. Senior Liz Wade had a big hand in the Belles’ victory as she filled up the stat sheet with five rebounds, five steals, five assists and three points.

The Belles got off to a hot start in the first half and had a 30-22 lead at halftime. But they were tested in the second half when the Cardinals came out of the locker room strong with a 10-2 run to tie the game. Otterbein took a three-point lead, but that was when the Belles answered with a run of their own. They reeled off a 12-2 run to take command of the game, and with solid free throw shooting down the stretch, Saint Mary’s put away the Cardinals for good.

Daniel said he knows how important the Belles’ second half performance was.

“At half-time we told the team that Otterbein is well-coached and a very good team, so they needed to be prepared for a run. It was our hope to extend the lead early, but we had some turnovers, missed some shots and did not score for the first four minutes of the second half,” Daniel said. “But our team knew that our defense must dictate our offense and having caused 27 turnovers in the game, making some key shots, and going 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final minute helped lead us in winning this highly contested game.”

Daniel said the team’s first loss to Wilmington included a lot of self-inflicted setbacks that cost the Belles the game. He said they cleaned up many of those mistakes versus the Cardinals and that helped them pull out the win.

“Saturday’s lost to Wilmington was based on a lot of missed chances and opportunities for us,” Daniel said. “We knew on Sunday that we needed to convert those same type of shots missed on Saturday, continue to play good pressure defense and we would give ourselves a chance of gaining a win against Otterbein.”

The Belles will be in action next for their home and conference opener Saturday against No. 23 Calvin.