Comeback Comes Up Short for Belles Against Polar Bears
ADA, Ohio - The Saint Mary's basketball team cut a 15-point deficit to a two-point difference in a six-minute span, but Ohio Northern was able to hold the edge in a 68-64 contest in the Polar Bears' Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday.
The host Polar Bears jumped out to a quick 10-point lead in the first six minutes of the contest, but the Belles showed their resilience early. Saint Mary's chipped away and got within a point of the lead at 14-13 on a good jump shot by Jessica Centa at the 10:22 mark in the first half. The chess match continued in similar fashion as Ohio Northern went back up by nine before Saint Mary's made it a one-possession contest in the closing minutes of the half. With back-to-back buckets in the final 1:32, the Belles went into the halftime break trailing by just a point at 28-27.
Ohio Northern came out of the break and pushed their lead back to nine yet again, but the Belles pulled within 40-37 on a pair of Maggie Ronan free throws less than five minutes into the second period.
The Polar Bears then picked up their largest lead of the game with 6:41 left in regulation after holding at least a 10-point since the eight-minute mark.
The Belles then made one more push to take over the lead with nine straight points. That spurt started a 17-4 run, which was capped off by a Patsy Mahoney three-pointer with 35 seconds left on the clock. Ohio Northern missed a pair of free throws and Kelley Murphy picked up the defensive rebound to give the Belles a chance to tie or move head. The Belles, however, missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity at the line and a three-pointer in the final seconds to fall by the 68-64 final.
Patsy Mahoney had a game-high 20 points to go along with a team-best six assists. Kelley Murphy added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Belles. Maggie Ronan scored 14 while Jessica Centa had 10 points to round out the Belles' double-digit scorers on the night.
The Belles (2-3) will take on Otterbein, who won against Ohio Wesleyan 65-50 on Saturday, in day two action at the Ohio Northern Thanksgiving Classic at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.