Belles end cross country campaign, begin basketball home slate
Andrew McGuinness | Tuesday, November 14, 2023
As one door closed, another door opened for Saint Mary’s athletics. On Saturday, the Belles concluded their cross-country schedule over the weekend, then hit the hardwood for the first time this season.
Saint Mary’s concluded their season at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional at Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton, Ohio. The Belles came in 16th out of 35 schools in the with a score of 508. No. 18 Calvin and No. 29 DePauw tied for first with 90 points, and Calvin captured the championship with a tiebreaker. Senior Amanda Tracy paced the Belles with a time of 22:29.0, coming in 61st place. Senior Haley Greene came in close behind at 22:50.9, good enough for 87th place.
Freshman Cecilia Conrad just missed a top-100 finish herself, placing 106th with a time of 23:17.4. Greene, Conrad, freshman Savannah Paulson (22:28.6, 118th) and freshman Jordan Siminski (23:41.3, 136th) all set PRs in the event. The Belles also notched their best team finish since 2015, improving on last year’s 19th-place finish.
The Belles competed in seven events this season. Their best finish was sixth place, which they achieved twice — first on Sept. 10 at the Calvin Knight Invitational and again on Sept. 29 at the DIII Preview Meet, hosted by Olivet College. Saint Mary’s roster features three seniors: Tracy, Greene and Sarah Harman.
After a tough start to their season in an 85-56 loss to Franklin on Oct. 8, the Belles bounced back on their home court. Saint Mary’s jumped out to an early lead. Led by a dominant defensive second quarter, the Belles found themselves on the right side of a rout, beating Dominican 77-52.
The Belles beat the Stars in almost every significant statistic, but the number that stands out the most is six. That’s the number of points Dominican scored in the second quarter, which is when the Belles truly put the game out of reach. By the end of the third quarter, Saint Mary’s led by 30, essentially making the final 10 minutes of the contest meaningless.
Four Belles finished the game in double figures, with junior guard Jasmyne Townsend leading the way with 19 points. Senior forward Athena Samson racked up a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Junior guard Lauren Gumma helped the Belles outscore the Stars’ bench 29-17 with 11 points herself.
Despite starting four guards, Saint Mary’s beat Dominican on the glass with a 51-36 edge in rebounding. That rebounding prowess carried over to the transition game, as the Belles scored 19 fastbreak points while allowing just four. They also outscored the Stars by six points on second-chance opportunities and nine off turnovers, taking advantage of everything Dominican gave them.
The Belles will look to keep that momentum going as they host Wheaton on Friday. The home game tips off at 6 p.m.