Belles Vanquish Brits in Overtime

Box Score

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team picked up a big 67-64 overtime victory over visiting Albion in MIAA action on Saturday evening.

Albion opened the game up with the first five points of the contest for a quick lead 2:32 into the first period. The Belles came right back with a patient 9-0 run over the next four minutes to gain a 9-5 advantage as Maddie Kohler, Ariana Paul, Shanlynn Bias, and Krista Knapke shared the wealth for Saint Mary's.

After the Brits came back to tie the game at 9-9 at the 12:21 mark, the Belles used another 9-0 to kick-start an effort that saw Saint Mary's outscore Albion 19-8 over the remainder of the half. The 28-17 lead at the break for the Belles marked the fewest points surrendered by Saint Mary's in a first half since holding Trine to 17 points on January 19, 2013.

Saint Mary's started the second half with good baskets by Bias and Paul to push their lead to 15 points at 32-17. Albion cut that lead to eight points at 36-28 and 38-30 with less than 12 minutes remaining in regulation, but a Bias jump shot and a Kristen Kleist three-pointer regained a pair of 13-point advantages at 8:10 and 7:33, respectively.

Over the next 1:22, the Belles ran into a dry spell from the floor while the Brits could not miss as Albion cut the deficit to four points at 49-45 with 6:11 on the clock.

Maddie Kohler had a career-high 14 points, which included making all four of her overtime free throws.
Maddie Kohler had a career-high 14
points, which included making all four
of her overtime free throws.
The shift in momentum continued to swing toward Albion over the final six minutes of the second half. Saint Mary's woes from the floor continued with the Belles making two of their final seven shots from the floor in the period. Albion stayed within two possessions of the lead before tying the game 55-55 with a layup with five seconds left in the second half. Maddie Kohler had a solid look at the game-winner, but her 25-foot three point shot at the buzzer was barely off the mark, sending the game to overtime.

Determined to take the home win, the Belles jumped out to a 63-55 lead over the first 3:41 of the five-minute overtime to take back the momentum from the Brits. Albion made it a three-point game after a layup and a three-point play with 37 seconds left in overtime. The Belles, however, went 8-of-9 in the extra period, including a 4-of-4 effort in the final 20 seconds to hold the Brits at bay. A late turnover gave Albion one last look at forcing a second overtime, but the Belles defense held the Brits to a missed jump shot in the final second of the game to preserve the 67-64 decision.

The extra-time win is the first overtime game and overtime win since a 72-68 victory at Calvin on January 28, 2009.

Saint Mary's held a 66.7 percent free throw percentage coming into today's contest. The Belles posted an 82.4 percent effort (14-of-17) from the line. Maddie Kohler sunk all four of her free throws in overtime while Bias, Shea, and Paul only missed their mark one time each in the game. The Belles also scored 21 points off of 24 Albion turnovers while the Brits has 14 points off of 15 Saint Mary's turnovers.

Ariana Paul led all players with 21 points and 14 rebounds for her second double-double of the season while tallying five assists and five steals. Shanlynn Bias added 19 points and three assists. Maddie Kohler had a career-high 14 points to go along with three assists.

The Belles (5-11, 3-4 MIAA) wrap up the first round of MIAA play when they travel to Olivet on Wednesday, January 22 for a 7:30 p.m. contest against the Comets.