Belles Trump Scots on Senior Day
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team outscored visiting Alma 16-9 over the final six and a half minutes of the game to take the 72-61 win on Senior Recognition Day.
The first half was a tightly-played period as neither team was able to establish more than a three-point lead through the first 18 minutes of action. With the game tied for the sixth time at 31-31 with 2:05 left before the half, the Belles were able to put together the first true run of the game.
Ariana Paul cleaned up the offensive glass and hit the follow-up layup to kick start an 8-0 run for Saint Mary's. Paul added a jump shot, Krista Knapke sunk a layup, and Shanlynn Bias added a layup to give the Belles the largest lead of the game at 39-31 with 26 seconds left before the break.
The Scots added a jump shot of their own less than ten seconds before the clock ran out to set the score at 39-33 heading into the half.
Saint Mary's picked up where the left off and started the second half on an 15-4 run, extending their lead to a game-high 17 points at 54-37 with 11:54 on the clock.
The Scots responded with their biggest run of the game and cut the lead to four points after out-scoring 15-2 over the next four and a half minutes of play. Holding on to a 56-52 lead, the Belles got back-to-back baskets from Ariana Paul and Krista Knapke to quickly regain an eight-point cushion. Two minutes later, the lead was back to double digits at 64-54 with a jump shot in the paint by Shanlynn Bias.
With one last push, the Scots edged within six points of the Saint Mary's lead at 64-58 with 3:25 to go. But again the Belles responded with a pair of second-chance buckets by Knapke before closing out the 72-61 win.
Saint Mary's scored 44 points in the paint to Alma's 26 and turned 26 turnovers by the Scots into 28 points while limiting Alma to 10 points off of 17 giveaways by the Belles. For the fifth time this season, the Belles hit at least 30 shots from the floor, sinking 33 field goals - all from inside the three-point arc.
Krista Knapke, Shanlynn Bias, and Ariana Paul provided a knockout combination on offense. Knapke led all players with a career-high 24 points while senior Shanlynn Bias added a career-best 22 points. Ariana Paul added 17 points and had a game-best 12 rebounds.
The Belles (7-16, 5-9 MIAA) host Olivet in their final home game of the season on Wednesday, February 19 at 7:30 p.m.