Upset Stopped Short for Belles Against Maroons
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team's bid at upsetting second-ranked University of Chicago fell short as the Belles lost 70-60 to the undefeated Maroons.
The Belles took advantage of winning the tip-off with a quick bucket by Shanlynn Bias. The Maroons then answered with 10 of the next 12 points of the game for a 10-4 lead less than three minutes into the game. The game remained 10-4 in favor of Chicago for two-and-a-half minutes of play until the Maroons picked up a layup with 14:00 left before the half. Saint Mary's then rattled off nine straight points to grab a 16-12 and forcing Chicago to take the first timeout of the game.
The two teams then went on a longer drought as neither team was able to buy a bucket until a good jump shot by the Maroons stopped the dry spell at five minutes. The Belles quickly transitioned off the made bucket to draw a foul and double their lead back to 18-14. Jessica Centa then made her presence known as the senior accounted for the team's next nine points. The biggest bucket of that spurt by Centa came as the shot clock was winding down and the co-captain lofted a shot from the corner in front of the Chicago bench to drain her first career three-pointer and give Saint Mary's their largest lead of the game at 25-14.
Chicago, however, made a run at the lead late in the half and cut the lead to just 33-30 in favor of Saint Mary's at halftime.
The Maroons picked up the first basket of the second half, but Jessica Centa gave the Belles a 35-32 advantage on a turnaround jump shot at the top of the key. The game was then tied four times in the next three minutes of play as the teams went back-and-forth with baskets.
With Saint Mary's trailing 44-41, Maggie Ronan came through with a big three-point play midway through the second half on a spinning layup to tie the game at 44-44. The Maroons would regain the lead on the next possession after two offensive rebounds and a put-back basket. The Belles would get within a possession of the lead twice in the next two minutes of action, but Chicago pulled away with a 13-4 run from just under the eight-minute mark to the 3:23 mark of the half to put the game away.
While both teams shot around the mid 30-percent mark from the floor in the game, Chicago made 26 of their 71 shots to the Belles' 18 of 55 shooting from the floor. The Belles did shoot ten more free throws and made 22 of their attempts to the Maroons' 15 made free throws.
Kelley Murphy led the Belles with her 18th career double-double as the senior notched 17 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a team-best three steals. The senior also gained sole possession of fourth place in school history in career rebounds. Patsy Mahoney finished the contest with 14 points while Jessica Centa added 11 points for the Belles. Mahoney also added three assists to move within a single assist of fifth place in career assists in program history. For Centa, the 11 points marked the 40th time in her career that she has scored at least 10 points in a game.
The Belles, who have played five nationally-ranked opponents already this season, will have more than a ten-day break before traveling to Otterbein for a tournament on December 28-29. Saint Mary's will next be in action when they take on Case Western Reserve on December 28 in the Otterbein O'Club Classic.