Belles top Brits in overtime
Kit Loughran | Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Belles persevered past the Brits to defeat them by a three-point margin of 67-64 in overtime play Saturday.
This win marks the first overtime game and overtime win for the Belles (5-11, 3-4 MIAA) since a 72-68 victory at Calvin on Jan. 28, 2009.
Near the end of the second period, the Belles faced a dry spell, and the Brits (6-10, 2-5) gained momentum and tied the game 55-55 with a layup with five seconds left on the clock. The Belles only made two of their final seven shots from the floor.
“Heading into overtime, we were a little down, since we didn’t stop Albion in the last six seconds of the game,” head coach Jennifer Henley said.
Sophomore guard Maddie Kohler had a chance at the game-winner with a 25-foot, three-point shot, but she just missed the mark, which took the game to overtime.
The Belles fought back immediately at the start of overtime, taking a 63-55 lead within the first 3:41 of the extra period. Saint Mary’s went 8-of-9 in overtime, and the Belles went 4-of-4 within the last 20 seconds. The Brits had an opportunity in the final second of the game to force a second overtime, but the Belles’ defense stood its ground and secured the 67-64 victory.
The Belles were 14-of-17 from the line, for 82.4 percent effort, and they entered the game with a 66.7 percent free-throw percentage. Kohler made all four of her free throws in overtime, and senior guard Shanlynn Bias, sophomore forward Eleni Shea and junior forward Ariana Paul only missed one free throw each during the game.
“We had our share of mistakes [in the game], but we did a great job at the free throw line down the stretch,” Henley said.
Paul led the Belles with 21 points and 14 rebounds. She also had five assists and five steals. Bias contributed 19 points and three assists, and Kohler reached a career-high 14 points that she accompanied with three assists.
“It’s hard to define what our biggest strength was during the game [because] we had a lot of moments that were very good,” Henley said. “I think in the end, what I am the most proud of is that our team never gave up.”
The Belles take their success against Albion with them as they move on to play Olivet next to finish up the first round of conference play.
“Moving forward, I hope this win gives our team some satisfaction from all of their hard work — that it is starting to pay off,” Henley said. “We need to continue to build on this effort and use this confidence as we prepare to take on Olivet.”
The Belles battle Olivet at the Cutler Event Center at Olivet College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.