SMC vs. Wheaton
Belles Fall in Nail-Biter
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team made a valiant comeback against visiting Wheaton, but the Belles came up short at the end as they lost a nail-biter 75-74 on Thursday night.
The Belles were able to establish their offense early against the Thunder as Saint Mary's took a 20-10 lead 7:02 into the game. During that stretch, sophomore Patsy Mahoney went 3-of-4 from the floor with a pair of free throws for 10 quick points for Saint Mary's. Wheaton, however, went on a 10-1 run over the next 4:49 to get within a point of the Belles at 21-20. After a pair of made free throws by Jessica Centa, the visiting Thunder hit back-to-back baskets to take a 24-23 lead with 6:13 to go in the first half. Anna Kammrath responded by cleaning up the offensive glass and hitting the put-back layup. Kelly Murphy then helped the Belles capitalize on a Thunder turnover with a jumper in the paint to put Saint Mary's up 27-24. Wheaton came back to regain the lead and closed out the half with a pair of free throws to go up 40-35 at the break.
The Thunder opened up the second half by extending their lead to 11 just 3:18 into the half. Every time the Belles chipped away at the lead, Wheaton came back to regain a double-digit margin. With a made three-pointer at 3:52 in the second half, Wheaton regained one of those double-digit leads to go up 70-60. The resilient Belles did what they have done so many times before and battled their way back into the game. With Wheaton up 72-63 with just 2:36 left in the game, the Belles used a pair of made free throws by Anna Kammrath and a three-pointer by Patsy Mahoney to get within five points at 73-68 with 1:43 to go. The Thunder missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Mahoney came up with the big rebound.
Maggie Ronan then sank a jumper from the top of the key with 59 seconds to go to put the Belles within three points at 73-70. Wheaton then missed a three-pointer as the shot clock ran down, and this time Kammrath came up with the big board. The Belles earned an offensive rebound that was tipped out of bounds, and on the ensuing in-bounds play, Kammrath spun open, hit the layup, was fouled, and completed the three-point play with 20 seconds left to knot the score at 73-73. The Thunder made two free throws with 15 seconds left to give the ball back to the Belles. Patsy Mahoney's three-pointer with nine seconds left was off the mark, but a huge effort by Anna Kammrath to track down the rebound paid off as the senior was fouled while picking up her 13th board of the game.
Kammrath made her first free throw to make the score 75-74 in favor of the Thunder. Her second free throw was off the mark, but a hustle play by Annie Doyle and a jump ball in favor of the Belles gave Saint Mary's one last chance to take the game with a second and some change on the clock. Patsy Mahoney received the in-bounds pass three feet behind the arc and put up the potential game-winner, but her shot hit off the rim and the Belles came up just short in their comeback bid.
Four players for Saint Mary's scored in the double-digits. Anna Kammrath led all players on the night with game-highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season and the 14th of her career. Kelley Murphy added 18 points and a pair of blocks for the Belles. Patsy Mahoney had 15 points and Jessica Centa chipped in 14 of her own.
The Belles will travel to MIAA-leading and #4 ranked Hope College on Saturday afternoon for a 3:00 p.m. tip-off against the Flying Dutch.