SMC vs. Hope
Belles Defeated by #3 Hope
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - In a game that was postponed due to harsh winter weather, the Saint Mary's basketball team came up short against #3/#4 (USA Today Coaches' Poll/d3hoops.com) Hope at home, falling 79-59.
Jessica Centa scored the first bucket of the game to put the Belles up 2-0 just thirty seconds in, but Hope went on a 15-2 run over the next three minutes to take control early. The Belles, however, showed some resilience throughout both halves of the game and would not go down without a fight. Saint Mary's would out-score Hope over the next few minutes of the game to cut the lead to just five points at 20-15 with 11:11 to go before the half. Patsy Mahoney nailed a pair of free throws in the final minute of the first half to cut the deficit back down to eight as Hope would take a 41-33 to the locker room.
After a good layup by Kelley Murphy and two more made free throws by Mahoney, the Belles were right back in the game, trailing just 41-37 at the 18:00 mark in the second half. Three made baskets, including a three-point play, pushed the Flying Dutch lead back to double-digits at 48-37. Saint Mary's continued to battle back. Trailing 55-43 with under 12 minutes to go, Jessica Centa scored six straight points for the Belles to halve the lead at 55-49.
With 8:25 left and the score 59-52 in favor of Hope, Saint Mary's had some chances to cut into the lead even more, but the Flying Dutch could hardly miss from the floor while the Belles were unable to convert some of those chances as Hope extended their lead back to double-digits for the remainder of the game.
The Belles finished the game with advantages in free throws (22-26, 84.6% for Saint Mary's; 18-24, 75.0% for Hope), steals (Saint Mary's - 14; Hope - 10) and rebounds (Saint Mary's - 44; Hope 41). Hope, however, hit 27-of-64 shots from the floor (42.2%) to the Belles' 18-of-60 shooting (30.0%).
Kelley Murphy led the Belles with her fifteenth career double-double and tenth of the season by scoring 16 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. It is also the 50th time of her career with double-digit scoring. Jessica Centa added 14 points with a pair of steals and seven rebounds for Saint Mary's. Patsy Mahoney had 12 points, five rebounds, five steals, and four assists in a game-high 34 minutes of play.
The Belles (14-7, 7-5 MIAA) will return home on Saturday to celebrate Senior Recognition Day for Liz Wade and Grace Sadowski as they host in-state MIAA rival Trine at 3:00 p.m.