2015 Season Recap
Success came in many forms for the 2014-15 Saint Mary’s basketball team. The Belles showed marked improvement throughout the season and added a new team member while battling their way through a challenging schedule.
Seven of the team’s 16 MIAA contests were decided by fewer than ten points in 2014-15. Among those contests were a three-point victory at home against Alma in December and a one-point nail-biter at home against Kalamazoo in February.
Against the Scots in December, the Belles held a 60-59 with 1:39 left in the second half. After a timeout, the Belles worked their offense and Ariana Paul found Krista Knapke in the paint for a layup to make it a three-point game with more than a minute remaining. The Scots were unable to get any points out of their next possession, and Paul was able to all but put the game away with a pair of free throws with nine seconds left. Alma hit a pair of free throws in the final second of the game, but the Belles' lead was insurmountable that late in the game as Saint Mary's picked up the 64-61 win.
Krista Knapke and Ariana Paul each had a look at a close-range jump shot in the paint with less than ten seconds remaining in the team’s overtime contest at home against Kalamazoo in February. Knapke tied up a Kalamazoo player on the rebound after Paul's shot, and the alternating possession arrow gave the ball back to Saint Mary's with two seconds left. Knapke was the recipient of the in bounds pass along the baseline and got off the potential game-winner, but her mid-range jump shot was off the mark as the game ended 71-70 in the Hornets' favor. In the final game of the year, Ariana Paul became the eleventh player in program history to score 1,000 career points.
Statistically, the team showed marked improvement throughout the course of the year. The Belles played each of their eight MIAA counterparts twice throughout the year. The team scored more points while surrendering fewer points against league foes during the second round of MIAA contests.
Overall, the team out-rebounded the opposition 1010 to 988 on the season and had a 399 to 341 edge in offensive rebounds alone. For the second consecutive year, the Belles averaged more than 40 rebounds per game while surpassing the 1,000-rebound plateau in back-to-back years. Moreover, the team had an assist on 50 percent of the made field goals in the 2014-15 campaign.
Away from the court, the team had several moments throughout the year when their dedication and commitment to the overall Division III experience were able to shine.
Prior to that Alma game in December, Bryanna Sikora joined the Saint Mary’s basketball team on what was her “Draft Day” through Team IMPACT. Team IMPACT is an organization which improves the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by matching these courageous kids with local college athletic teams.
Leading up to and during the home Kalamazoo game, the team raised nearly $2,700 for the Angel Wings Fund. Angel Wings was founded by former Alma College Women’s Basketball coach Keisha Brown after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and is named after her own daughter. Angel Wings was created to provide support to children who have lost a parent to cancer.
At the conclusion of the season, Ariana Paul was selected to the All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Second Team for the 2014-15 season. Paul was near the top of the individual standings in conference statistics in points, steals, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, and total rebounds during her senior season. She was named the MIAA Player of the Week twice during the season.