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SMC Basketball

Pair of defeats puts Belles over 20-loss mark

| Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Saint Mary’s was unable to build upon a Feb. 4 victory over Kalamazoo, as the Belles (2-21, 1-13 MIAA) dropped a contest at Alma and an out-of-conference encounter with Rochester on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively.

Against Alma (8-15, 6-8 MIAA), the Belles found themselves in an early hole, trailing 18-4 after less than eight minutes, and 19-6 by the end of the first quarter. The Scots continued to widen their lead through the second quarter, and although the Belles had eight free throw attempts in the final three minutes of the period, they could only make three and found themselves trailing 37-17 at halftime.

The third quarter was a more even affair, with the Scots slightly stretching their lead to 49-27 before the Belles played their best basketball of the game in the final quarter. Saint Mary’s scored 23 points in the period and limited the Scots to just 13, but it was not enough as the Scots won the game, 62-50.

Junior forward Gabby Diamond scored 14 points overall for the Belles, including seven in the final quarter.

Facing Rochester (15-7), the Belles trailed 14-6 through six minutes, but this time fought back. A strong end to the first quarter and an impressive second period put the Belles within one point, thanks in part to a sequence of three assists on consecutive possessions for sophomore guard Erin Maloney within the final two minutes of the half.

The Belles tied the game in the final minute of the third quarter, and went into the final period trailing 50-48 after a Warriors jumper with eight seconds left in the period. This time, however, the Belles couldn’t deliver in the fourth quarter. The Belles remained within three points with just over three minutes left, but in just 2:45 the Warriors scored nine points from the floor, followed by a free throw on an and-one opportunity, giving Rochester the victory by a final score of 67-54.

Senior forward Kelsey Ronan scored a career-high and game-leading 23 points, while Diamond added a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds.

The Belles will travel to Hope on Wednesday for their last road game of the year. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

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