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SMC Basketball: Belles top Trine, earn second straight win

Brendan Bell | Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saint Mary’s defeated conference opponent Trine 59-48 to earn its second consecutive win. The Belles (9-10, 5-5 MIAA) reversed the result of an earlier meeting between the two teams back in November, when they lost 67-59.

Saint Mary’s and Trine (9-10, 3-7) started the game exchanging scores, but with under eight minutes left in the half, Saint Mary’s began to expand on its lead. By halftime the Belles had a 33-22 margin over the Thunder, with contributions from senior forward Jessica Centa and senior guard Maggie Ronan.

Saint Mary’s coach Jennifer Henley says the week of practice contributed to the team’s success against Trine.

“The biggest thing today was rebounding,” Henley said. “We emphasized rebounding all week, and they came out here today and did just that.”

The Belles recorded 23 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded the Thunder 45-25. Saint Mary’s forced Trine into shooting only 33 percent from the floor. The Belles, on the other hand, thrived against the Thunder defense.

“Trine played a zone defense against us,” Henley said. “It allowed us to get to some spots on the floor and make shots.”

The Belles executed and shot 44 percent from the floor. Ronan was the team’s leading scorer with 18 points while shooting 58 percent for the game. Centa and senior forward Kelley Murphy also added nine points each.

For Trine, junior guard Megan Loveberry scored 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Loveberry was the only player to score double digits for the Thunder.

Henley said the team will look to carry the momentum from its last two games moving forward. Saint Mary’s improved its record to 5-3 at home and hosts Hope on Saturday as it looks to reach the .500 mark for the season.

“We need to just keep doing what we are doing and get offensive boards as well,” Henley said. “Also I think we need to get to the free-throw line more than we did tonight, and when we are on the line we need to make more shots.”

The Belles only reached the free-throw line 12 times for the game, shooting only 58 percent. Saint Mary’s will look to improve upon that mark when it takes on Hope, who won the previous meeting 74-56.

“Hope is coming in and that is always a great game. We’ll be ready for it,” Henley said.

Saint Mary’s faces Hope on Saturday at 3 p.m., with the alumnae game preceding it at noon.