Belles take on strong Calvin squad
Andrew Robinson | Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Coming off a promising 59-50 win over Trine on Saturday, Saint Mary’s hopes to keep its momentum going in its second matchup against conference opponent Calvin tonight.
The Knights (13-6, 8-3 MIAA), who also defeated Trine in their most recent game, 78-57, will be a tough test for the Belles (6-13, 4-6). The Knights have won six of their last seven games and have moved into third place in the conference.
When the Belles and the Knights squared off earlier in the season, Calvin outmatched the Saint Mary’s defense and created a lot of points off turnovers, coming away with a lopsided 95-68 victory. Belles coach Jenn Henley, however, said she saw strengths in the Trine game that she thinks will be necessary for success against Calvin.
“I really liked how we got to the boards against Trine,” Henley said. “We certainly need to look to do that against Calvin, too.”
Junior forward Ariana Paul was crucial to that frontcourt success, snagging 14 rebounds against Trine. She and sophomore forward Krista Knapke are tied for the team lead with an average of 7.7 rebounds per game.
Nine Belles scored in the Trine game, including senior guard Shanlynn Bias who notched a team-high 13 points. Bias and Paul, the Belles’ two leading scorers at 13.8 and 13.6 points per game, respectively, likely will be factors in the game against Calvin, as well.
Calvin does not have many players with gaudy offensive statistics, but the numbers can be deceiving — its attack is well-balanced, and scoring has come from all over the roster throughout the season.
Against Trine, Knight freshman guard Anna Timmer came off the bench to lead the team with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Eight different players have led the team in scoring in at least one game, and junior forward Breanna Verkaik and junior forward Hannah Acre have consistently put up solid numbers, averaging 13.5 and 9.4 points per game, respectively.
Earlier in the year, Knight junior guard Kayla Engelhard led the charge against Saint Mary’s with 23 points and five rebounds. Henley said the Belles will need to slow down the Knight offense in multiple ways.
“We need to play better one-on-one defense and focus on keeping Calvin’s points out of the paint,” Henley said.
Henley also emphasized a few other points she has been stressing to her players throughout the season.
“We need to cut down our turnovers and not put them at the free throw line,” she said. “And in turn, we need to get [to the line] ourselves.”
The Belles will travel to Calvin tonight to play the Knights at 7:30 p.m.
Contact Andrew Robinson at [email protected]