The Saint Mary’s basketball team evened their conference record at 1-1 on Saturday, blasting Adrian 88-70. The Belles showcased their depth, with four substitutes playing at least 12 minutes and combining for 31 points. Junior guard Elle Deardorff led all scorers with 19 points, sparked by 5-of-8 shooting from three-point range. Sophomore forward Julia Schutz added 16 points and made all three of her three-point attempts. She also collected nine rebounds. Deardorff and Schutz combined for eight of Saint Mary’s 11 triples, sparking the offense.
The Belles trailed at the halftime horn in this one, with a sluggish first quarter getting them off on the wrong foot. Adrian led 40-36 after two quarters of play. However, a monster third quarter did much of the damage for Saint Mary’s. They outscored the Bulldogs 33-12 in the period, opening up a dominant advantage that wasn’t threatened in the final frame.
Up 8-7 early, Saint Mary’s allowed a 10-0 run from Adrian to fall into an early deficit. A late triple from Lauren Gumma pulled the Belles within 19-13 after ten minutes. Saint Mary’s clawed back and took a brief lead, but Adrian pulled back ahead.
Down four at halftime, the Belles used a quick three-point barrage to overtake the vistors. Deardorff made a pair of threes in 31 seconds, and Schutz added a third as Saint Mary’s opened with a 9-0 run. The duo combined to score the first 15 Saint Mary’s points of the quarter. Then, after Adrian got back to within 48-45, the Belles ripped off a 6-0 spurt to flirt with expanding their lead into the double digits. The advantage stayed in around 9-12 points for a while, but Saint Mary’s closed the period on a tear to seize control. Up 61-51, they ended on a 8-1 run to take a commanding 69-52 advantage into the final quarter.
In the fourth, the lead stayed safe throughout, as Adrian never mounted a significant comeback. The Belles pushed out the lead to as much as 23 points and cruised to the finish line. They improved to 1-1 in MIAA play and 4-4 overall. The Belles play a pair of games this weekend. First, they’ll take on local rival Holy Cross on Tuesday night in a non-conference battle. Then, on Thursday, the Belles will travel to Calvin (5-2, 0-2 MIAA) for another conference game. Tipoff on Tuesday is at 6 p.m.