SMC vs. Hope
Belles Downed by #2 Flying Dutch
HOLLAND, Mich. - In a game that was separated by just three points at the half, the host Flying Dutch used an 11-2 run to start the second half to hand the Saint Mary's basketball team their second MIAA loss of the season 83-64. With the win, Hope extends their home court winning streak to 68 consecutive wins.
The Belles scored the most points in a first half against #2 Hope all season long and trailed just 38-35 at halftime. Not only was the 35 points posted by Saint Mary's the most allowed by the Flying Dutch in the first half of a game this year, but the three-point margin was the smallest lead held by undefeated Hope at the midway break.
The Belles were able to keep withing striking distance throughout the first half. Saint Mary's hit 14-of-18 free throws in the first 20 minutes to the Flying Dutch's 10-of-14 from the charity stripe. The Belles also had two fewer turnovers in the first half while causing Hope to commit 10 turnovers while holding a 9-3 margin in steals over the Flying Dutch.
Saint Mary's held as much as a three-point lead with 13:47 to go in the first half. After the game was tied 22-22, 24-24, and 26-26, Hope took the lead with on a layup by Meredith Kussmaul. Hope took the largest lead of the half on a pair of free throws with 3:47 left before the break at 34-27, but Saint Mary's would out-score the Flying Dutch 8-4 in the final minutes to trail just 38-35 at halftime.
After the break, the Flying Dutch opened up the second half on an 11-2 run to quickly extend their lead to 49-37. From that run through the rest of the game, Hope would hold at least a 10-point lead over the Belles on their way to the 83-64 decision.
Leading the way for the Belles were Kelley Murphy, Patsy Mahoney, and Annie Doyle, who all scored at least 10 points for Saint Mary's. Murphy had team-highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the year. Mahoney added 15 points ninth game of the year with at least 14 points. The junior guard also had a consecutive free throws made streak broken in the game. Mahoney entered the game having made every free throw since late in the first half of the Belles' win over Alma on December 11. From that game until the 13:47 mark in the first half, she made 30 straight free throws until missing her second attempt after being fouled in the act of shooting. Heading into today, she was ranked eleventh in all of Division III women's basketball in free throw percentage. Doyle was a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe and added a bucket from the floor to score 10 points for Saint Mary's.
The Belles will look to get back in the winning column next Wednesday when they host Albion at Angela Athletic Facility at 7:30 p.m.