Belles set to open conference play against Alma
Marek Mazurek | Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Saint Mary’s will face rival Alma at home Wednesday to open its MIAA conference schedule.
The Belles currently hold a 2-3 record after opening their season with three losses, but they have won their last two games against Trinity International and Anderson. Belles coach Jenn Henley said the winning streak is the result of improved team chemistry and simple execution.
“I can’t say that we have been doing anything differently during the last two weeks,” Henley said. “We just needed more time to come together as a team. We started to do more of the little things the right way and found success.”
Henley said the performance of freshman forward Gabby Diamond has keyed the Belles’ turnaround. Diamond is the fourth-leading scorer for Saint Mary’s, averaging 8.4 points a game.
“Gabby is doing well for us early in the season,” Henley said. “Her teammates are doing a good job of finding her in the paint the last few games. I am expecting her to continue to contribute to our overall team success as she continues to improve.”
The game against the Scots marks the first game on a competitive conference slate for the Belles.
“We are going to take one game at a time in the MIAA,” Henley said. “Every year, our conference is tough. Our focus is on the little things as we open up MIAA play this week.”
Henley said the key to defeating Alma is taking control of tempo and shutting down the Scots’ star players.
“Alma is quick and scrappy,” Henley said. “We have to set the tone of the game early on and maintain it. They are led by … senior [guard] Mallory Pruett, who is shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line in four games. She makes them go. Defending her will be key.”
The Belles head into the matchup after a week of rest due to the Thanksgiving holiday, but Henley said she expects her team to recover quickly.
“Long layoffs between games are never good for a basketball coach,” Henley said. “We have enough returners on this team who understand what is needed to be done so that a holiday break does not become an excuse for not performing.”
The Belles tip off against the Scots on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Angela Athletic Facility.