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SMC Basketball: Belles battle for MIAA tournament spot

Peter Steiner | Tuesday, February 7, 2012

After defeating Olivet on Saturday, the Belles will attempt to stave off another opponent looking to overtake them in the standings when they face off against Adrian tonight.

With only three conference games remaining, Saint Mary’s (11-11, 7-6 MIAA) is clinging to the last MIAA postseason tournament spot.

Adrian (9-11, 5-8) enters the game on a three-game winning streak that has vaulted it into fifth place in the MIAA.

Defense will be the key to stopping Adrian’s momentum, Belles coach Jennifer Henley said.

“In order for us to secure the fourth place in the MIAA tournament, this is definitely a must win for us,” Henley said. “I believe Wednesday’s game will come down to defense once again. Adrian has a lot of talent on their team, and they are playing with great chemistry right now. We have to do a better job playing team defense and doing the little things right.”

The Belles lost to the Bulldogs on the road earlier this season, scoring only 52 points — their lowest point total this season. According to Henley, the Belles will need to depend on their transition game, solid rebounding and the ability to draw fouls on shots in order to beat Adrian this time around.

“We are going to look to get out and run on Adrian as much as possible,” she said. “We certainly are going to try to get to the foul line; it has been one of our strengths all season. I also think rebounding will be a big factor for us. We have been working hard on crashing the offensive boards and putting more effort into our own box-outs lately.”

The Belles will also continue to depend on senior guard Patsy Mahoney, who was named MIAA Player of the Week for the second time this year Monday. Mahoney scored a career-high 29 points in Saint Mary’s victory over Olivet Saturday and will look to continue her hot shooting against an Adrian team ranked third in defense in the conference.

In addition to the key matchup, this second-to-last home game for the Belles serves as the Think Pink Game. All the profits from concessions, apparel and tickets sales at tonight’s game will be donated to a local organization called “Young Survivors,” Henley said.

“We are hoping for a great turn out for our Pink Night,” Henley said. “Young Survivors is a wonderful organization that is dedicated to helping all women who have survived or are recovering from breast cancer. We are honored to join them in the fight to end breast cancer.”

The Belles will face off against Adrian tonight at 7:30 p.m at the Angela Athletic Facility.