Belles end campaign with trip to Olivet
Daisy Costello | Friday, February 20, 2015
Saint Mary’s, which has struggled to find its rhythm in conference play this year, will tip off against Olivet in its final game of the season Saturday in Olivet, Michigan, after falling to Albion on the road Thursday, 69-61.
Although the Belles (3-21, 1-14 MIAA) have hit some roadblocks this year and currently sit in last place in the MIAA, Saint Mary’s coach Jennifer Henley said she still has a positive outlook on the season.
“We have had some really good moments of basketball,” Henley said.
The Belles, who have been led by senior guard Ariana Paul all season on offense, hope to rally around her this week as she suits up for her final game in a Saint Mary’s uniform.
“[Paul] has had a solid four years in our program,” Henley said. “Our team is trying to make her last week even more memorable.”
Paul, who averages 14.8 points per game, is nearing another milestone in her career: 1,000 career points. She needs 10 points to reach the mark.
Olivet (13-11, 8-7) is led by the senior front-court duo of Stefanie Lang and Carli Reid and averages 68.7 points per game. Lang, a 6-foot-4 center, is the top offensive threat on the Comets roster, averaging a double-double of 18.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Reid, a 6-foot-1 forward, adds 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, second on the team in both categories.
Paul and 5-foot-10 junior forward Krista Knapke have the task of battling Lang on the boards and keeping the rebounding gap close. The Belles average 40.2 rebounds per game, only a few shy of the Comets, who collect 43.5 boards per contest. Size could be an issue, however, as the Belles’ tallest forwards — junior Eleni Shea, sophomore Kelsey Ronan and freshmen Megan Shea and Gabby Diamond, all 6-feet, stand four inches shorter than Lang.
The Belles have not won since Dec. 3, against Alma, but Henley said she is optimistic about the team going forward. Of the 14 players listed on the 2014-15 Belles roster, nine are underclassmen.
“Our younger players have gained valuable experience we can build on,” Henley said.
The Belles take the court one last time this season Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Olivet, Michigan.