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



SMC Basketball: Mahoney’s big night not enough

Matthew DeFranks | Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Despite a career-high 23 points from junior guard Patsy Mahoney, Saint Mary’s fell to Calvin 74-60 on Saturday in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Belles (12-6, 5-4 MIAA) started off slow, allowing the Knights (15-3, 9-0) to jump on a 9-0 run fueled by six early Saint Mary’s turnovers. Both teams were sloppy all game, each turning the ball over 25 times.

“Turnovers have been a problem for us all season long,” Belles coach Jenn Henley said. “Calvin is certainly a good team, so at times, their defense definitely disrupted our offense, but we also had some unforced turnovers due to forcing passes and not reading each other in our offense.”

With the loss, the Belles’ three-game win streak was snapped while Calvin extended its own to a season-high six-game streak — including a one-point win over previously undefeated and top-ranked Hope College — and maintained its place atop the MIAA standings.

Regardless of the loss, Henley doesn’t doubt the strength of her team against the better conference teams as long as the Belles keep focused.

“I definitely believe we can beat teams like Hope and Calvin,” Henley said. “But we need to play 40 minutes of solid defense.”

Calvin sophomore forward Carissa Verkaik’s 20 points and 12 rebounds and sophomore forward Julia Hilbrands career-high 19 points led the Knights’ offense and helped keep the Belles at a distance.

A 65 percent first-half shooting effort from Calvin coupled with the Belles’ 27 percent shooting from the field put Saint Mary’s in a 14-point halftime hole.

Just eight seconds into the second half, Saint Mary’s cut the Knights’ lead to 12 with a layup from junior forward Kelley Murphy, who finished the game with 19 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Calvin responded with a 10-0 run in just over two minutes to extend their lead to a game-high 22 points and never looked back.

The Knights never trailed in the game and held at least 15-point edges in both points in the paint and bench points.

Although it snapped their win streak, the loss allowed the Belles to reevaluate their game plan as they advance to the remainder of their season.

“From there we started trading baskets and weren’t able to get a lot of stops to chip away at their lead,” Henley said. “As we move forward into the second half of conference play, we have to really focus on our defense and cut down our turnovers.”

Saint Mary’s returns to action on Wednesday night as they host Olivet (6-11, 5-4). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Angela Athletic Center.