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Belles win second straight over break

| Monday, December 1, 2014

Saint Mary’s notched its second consecutive victory Nov. 25, winning 68-57 at Anderson.

Despite trailing early in the game, the Belles (2-3) rallied late in the first half to take a 40-31 lead entering halftime.

Coming out of the break, the Ravens (1-3) didn’t dent the Belles’ lead, and Saint Mary’s held on to win in a lower-scoring second half.

Belles senior forward Ariana Paul shot 14-of-21 from the field and scored 32 points in the win as the Belles made nearly half of their field goals. Paul’s 32 points were the highest scored by a Saint Mary’s player since the 2007-2008 season.

Belles coach Jennifer Henley said she was impressed by her team’s shooting performances and the work of Paul in particular.

“I thought we had good ball movement on offense and took good shots,” Henley said. “We continued to attack the gaps in Anderson’s defense and found a lot of points in the paint.

“Ariana had the hot hand on Tuesday, and her teammates did a great job of finding her.”

Despite the win, Henley said the performance was far from perfect. The Belles were out-rebounded 32-31 in the game, and Henley said there was room for improvement on both sides of the ball.

“Anderson beat us on the boards,” Henley said. “We need to continue to work on finding bodies when we box out and not just ball-watch when a shot goes up.

“We still need to focus on our team defense in keeping teams out of the paint on the drive and offensively, we need to be stronger with the ball and cut down on our turnovers.”

Henley said she was still pleased to see her team record a second win in a row, and she believes it could be an important boost in momentum for Saint Mary’s heading into conference play.

“Anytime you can get two wins in a row — especially on the road — is great momentum,” Henley said. “As we prepare to open up conference play with Alma, we continue to build upon the things we did well at Anderson.”

Junior forward Eleni Shea led the team with eight rebounds in addition to scoring 17 points, while Paul recorded seven boards and four steals to go along with her 32 points. Junior guard Maddie Kohler added eight points and two assists.

Saint Mary’s committed 22 turnovers compared to Anderson’s 15, but the Belles were more effective at converting those chances into points, outscoring the Ravens, 23-13, in points off turnovers.

The Belles are back in action tomorrow night as they host conference foe Alma at 7:30 p.m.

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

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