Belles ride monster third quarter in conference win

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.


Belles fall again in convincing defeat to Albion

Last night Saint Mary’s basketball dropped their third consecutive game, falling 88-44 on the road to Albion.

Sophomore forward Julia Schutz and senior guard Maddie Rzepka paced the Belles, combining for over half of the team’s points with 13 and 10, respectively. Schutz also led the squad in assists with three and finished second on the team in rebounds with five. Junior forward Athena Samson led the way on the boards for Saint Mary’s, grabbing ten rebounds in the loss.

A balanced scoring effort paved the way for the Britons to take home the victory. Four of Albion’s five starters chipped in with nine or more points. In total, 12 different players managed to get on the scoresheet for the Britons. Albion also received three different eight-plus point performances off the bench.

The backcourt combination of Lolo Reed and Riley Davis did the most damage for Albion, with both recording a team-high 12 points. Elena Welker and Cierra Cole served as the primary creative forces for the Britons, each dishing a game-high five assists. The Belles had no answer for Albion center Daniah Beavers down low, with Beavers pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds. Beavers currently stands third in the MIAA for rebounds per game with 10.2.

The loss drops Saint Mary’s to 3-4 and 0-1 in conference play on the year. But a stretch of three games over the next week looms as a major chance for the Belles to get their season back on track. That stretch includes a game against Adrian and Calvin, both of which are currently tied with Saint Marys at the bottom of conference standings with a 0-1 record. The Belles will also play a “road” game when they take on Holy Cross in South Bend.

Expect the Belles to continue to lean on the trio of Schutz, Rzepka and Samson as they look for their first conference win. The trio are all averaging double digits in points per game. Samson and Schutz have also both proved to be indispensable on the boards. Both rank among the conference’s top-five in rebounds per game.

Saint Mary’s basketball will be back in action this weekend on Saturday at home against Adrian College. The Bulldogs are 3-3 overall on the season, but are 0-1 in conference play. The game will tip off at 3 p.m.


Belles split pair of nonconference games

On Thursday and Sunday, the Saint Mary’s basketball team split a pair of non-conference games, ultimately moving to 3-2 on the season. The Belles slammed Illinois Tech 82-66 on Thursday night but lost to Defiance 70-60 on Sunday. 

The Belles rebounded from their first loss of the season and rode a dominant middle two quarters Thursday night. Down 20-14 after 10 minutes, Saint Mary’s outscored the Scarlet Hawks 52-29 in the second and third quarters. Senior guard Maddie Rzepka led the squad with 18 points, while freshman guard Nicole Connelly came off the bench to drop 15 points. Saint Mary’s won the game on the boards, out-rebounding Illinois Tech 60-37. Junior forwards Athena Samson and Anne Goralczyk combined for 26 rebounds. Samson added 12 points for the double-double.

The Belles took the lead for good late in the second quarter. After Illinois Tech tied the game at 27-27, both teams entered a dry spell. Neither team scored for 2 minutes and 27 seconds. But with 3:52 remaining, Goralczyk sank a jump shot, and Saint Mary’s ripped off 10 straight points. That helped grant the Belles a 37-29 halftime advantage. The Scarlet Hawks closed within 43-41 in the second half, but another late-quarter surge helped the Belles put the game away. Over a 2:07 stretch, Saint Mary’s notched another 10-0 run to extend their lead to 64-46. Illinois Tech never challenged again, as the Belles improved to 3-1.

On Sunday, the Belles couldn’t quite pull off their fourth win in five games. Up two at halftime, a paltry shooting performance doomed Saint Mary’s in the 10-point loss. Samson added another double-double, going for 14 points and 13 rebounds in the contest. Sophomore forward Julia Schutz joined the double-double party with a monster performance, pouring in 18 points and grabbing 12 boards. She also blocked three shots. However, a 5-31 shooting effort from three-point range contributed to an poor overall 30.4% shooting percentage, a level of offensive inefficiency too much to overcome.

The Belles maintained a slim advantage throughout the first 2.5 quarters, extending their lead to 42-36 just under halfway through the third quarter. However, Taylor Steinbrunner made a pair of triples in a 27-second span to knto the score. The Yellow Jackets added a few more baskets to end the period on a 12-2 scoring run and take a 48-42 advantage. Saint Mary’s didn’t score for the final 5 minutes and 24 seconds of the quarter.

In the final 10 minutes, the Belles never got closer than four points, trailing by about ten most of the way. A brief surge brought them to a 59-54 deficit with 2:29 left, but that was as close as it got. Saint Mary’s succumbed, 70-60.

The Belles play Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against Anderson in a non-conference game. They start conference play after Thanksgiving.

Contact Aidan Thomas at