SMC vs. Albion
Belles Escape With Second Straight Win Over Brits
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The outcome was determined by the final two possessions of the game, and the Saint Mary's basketball team was able to hold on for a 61-59 win over Albion in the first round of the MIAA Tournament on Tuesday night.
The two teams battled early and it was evident that it would be a close game yet again on Tuesday. The Belles erased a quick 10-6 deficit to the Brits with a pair of back-to-back baskets and then took their first lead of the game with 11:08 to go in the half. With the score at 16-12 in favor of Saint Mary's, Albion used a 13-0 run over a six minute span to go up 25-16 with 3:45 left before halftime. The Brits were able to extend their cushion over the Belles to 10 points on a banked-in three-pointer five seconds before the half.
After the two teams had a tough time hitting anything to open the second half, Albion took their largest lead of the game when they went up 34-22 with over 17 minutes left on the clock. The Belles turned the tide on the Brits a bit as they went on a 12-2 run of their own to cut the deficit to just two points on a Katie Sullivan three-pointer. Albion responded with a good jumper to regain a four-point lead, but the resilient Belles went on a 14-2 spurt to completely wipe away Albion's lead and go up 48-40 with 9:16 to go.
No lead was safe in this game, however, as Albion regained the lead just two minutes later with a pair of free throws. Saint Mary's went on another tear to take a 57-50 advantage with 3:25 left on the clock, but a three-pointer and four free throws for the Brits knotted the game at 57-57. With just over a minute to go, Maggie Ronan connected with Kelley Murphy, who nailed the layup for her sixth basket of the game to put the Belles up 59-57. Albion capitalized on their next possession to tie the game for the seventh time at 59-59.
After a missed shot by the Belles with 53 seconds left, Albion had a chance to take the lead, but their shot too was off the mark and Anna Kammrath picked up a big rebound for the Belles with 24 seconds remaining. Patsy Mahoney took the ball up the length of the court, drove into the lane, and lofted a layup off the glass and in with 13 seconds remaining to put the Belles up 61-59. The Brits had a final look at the basket, but solid defense by the Belles forced Albion into a two-point shot at the buzzer instead of a potential game-winner. The game-tying basket hit off the rim and the Belles came away with the 61-59 victory and their second win over Albion in just four days.
Kelley Murphy and Maggie Ronan led the offense for the Belles in the win. Murphy had a team-high 16 points and added nine rebounds. Ronan had a solid night with 11 points, five assists, and a pair of rebounds as she connected on 5-of-6 shots from the floor. Anna Kammrath, meanwhile, had a game-high 10 rebounds, all of which came in the second half.
The win was also a milestone for head coach Jenn Henley, who now has 100 career coaching wins from her time with the Belles and at Mt. Union (Ohio).
The Belles (15-10, 9-7 MIAA) advance to the MIAA Tournament Semifinal. Saint Mary's will travel to Calvin on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. contest against the nationally-ranked Knights.