SMC vs. Wheaton
Belles Prevail in Nail-biter against Wheaton
Box Score (pdf)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- For the first time in 11 meetings between the Saint Mary's and Wheaton basketball teams, the Belles came out victorious with a tough-fought 81-78 win.
After a back-and-forth start, the visiting Thunder would establish a lead at the 16:44. A Nicole Beier jumper just under the 13 minute mark tied the game at 18-18, and Kelly Murphy would give the Belles the lead with a pair of free throws on the next Saint Mary's possession.
The Belles then used a 24-11 run to go up by 15 over Wheaton. At the half, the Belles had a commanding 50-37 lead. The 50 points marks the most in a half scored by the Belles since last year's squad had 49 in the first half against Aurora. Saint Mary's shot 50.0% from the floor in the first half and took advantage of Thunder fouls to go 16-for-20 (80.0%) from the charity stripe.
The second half would look like a different game for both squads. Wheaton opened the half on a 14-5 run to cut the Belles' lead to 55-51. Saint Mary's was able to re-extend the lead to as much as 12 in the half, but the Thunder would not go quietly. A jumper by Maggie Ronan put Saint Mary's up 75-64 with 3:40 left in the contest. After another run by the visitors, the score was knotted at 78-78 with 39 seconds to go.
Maggie Ronan would grab an offensive rebound with just 27 seconds left and was fouled to send her to the line for a pair of free throws. After making the front end to give Saint Mary's a 79-78 lead, Ronan missed her second free throw, but Anna Kammrath cleaned up the offensive boards with what was the most important of her game-high 14 rebounds. After a Belles' timeout, Erin Newsom was fouled to stop the clock with 13 seconds left. The senior converted both free throw attempts to push the lead to three. The Belles pressured the Thunder's shot that would have tied the contest as the three-pointer was off the mark, and Saint Mary's claimed the 81-78 win.
Erin Newsom had her first double-double of the season. The senior shot an impressive 8-for-11 (72.7%) from the floor, which included a perfect 2-for-2 from behind the arc. She also made all four of her free-throw attempts to finish the game with a team-high 22 points to go with her 10 rebounds. Maggie Ronan added 14 points of her own, and Nicole Beier had 13 points off of the bench.
The Belles will now host the Saint Mary's College Thanksgiving Classic on Thursday and Friday as #11 University of Chicago, Otterbein, and Manchester will make the trip to South Bend.