SMC at Wheaton
Belles Shut Down Thunder To Open Season
WHEATON, Ill. - For the third straight year, the Saint Mary's basketball team opened up their season with a victory as the Belles defeated Wheaton by a 72-36 score.
The Belles were able to double-up the Thunder in part to holding Wheaton to just 12 points on 5-of-29 shooting from the floor in the second half while scoring 39 points of their own.
After the Belles gained a quick lead, the Thunder came back to within three points at 18-15 with 7:26 to go in the first half. Saint Mary's would close out the half by outscoring Wheaton 15-9 for a 33-24 halftime advantage. In the second half, it was all Saint Mary's. The Belles took less than four minutes to turn a nine-point lead into a 20-point cushion. Saint Mary's would lead by at least 20 points for the remainder of the game en route to the 36-point victory.
Leading the way for the Belles was junior forward Kelley Murphy. The 2009 All-MIAA Second Team honoree had a game-high 21 points, making eight of her 11 shots from the floor and hitting all five of her free throws. Murphy had her first double-double of the season as she collected a career-high 18 rebounds, surpassing her old mark of 11 boards. Classmate Jessica Centa added 17 points and a pair of assists as she was a point off of her career high. Freshman Shanlynn Bias, meanwhile, made an immediate impact off the bench for the Belles by scoring 10 points and coming up with three steals in her debut.
Saint Mary's out-scored Wheaton 36-8 in the paint while keeping all Thunder players under double-digit scoring.
The Belles will return to the Land of Lincoln for the North Central College Holiday Inn Select Tip-Off Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Saint Mary's will face Aurora at noon Central Standard Time on Friday, November 19 in the first game of the tournament.