Belles Stung by Yellow Jackets
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team fell by a 77-71 margin to visiting Defiance on Saturday afternoon.
The Belles jumped out to a big lead through the first three minutes of the game by scoring the first 10 points of the contest. Saint Mary's tallied buckets on four of their first five possessions to mount a 10-0 advantage through 3:18 of play.
Saint Mary's had a response for everything the Yellow Jackets threw their way to open the first half. When a Defiance three-pointer made it a 17-11 game, the Belles came right back with seven unanswered points to post their largest lead of the contest at 24-11 with 8:49 remaining in the first period.
Defiance cut into the Saint Mary's advantage with a 10-2 run over the next 3:35 to pull within 26-21 over five minutes remaining in the half. The Belles were able to extend their advantage back to nine points on back-to-back baskets by Krista Knapke and Ariana Paul to go up 32-23. The Yellow Jackets closed out the final 2:10 by out-scoring Saint Mary's by a 9-2 margin to make it a two-point (34-32) game at the half as Defiance began to take some momentum.
That momentum carried over into the second half for the Yellow Jackets as Defiance hit a three-pointer on the opening possession of the period to take their first lead of the game. Over the next 10:16, there were seven lead changes and two ties as both teams continued to come up with a response to their opponent.
A 9-0 run by the visiting Yellow Jackets, however, proved to be the final shift in momentum. After Katherine Wabler put Saint Mary's up 52-49 with a good jump shot in the lane, Defiance scored the next nine points in-a-row for a 58-52 lead with 8:07 remaining.
The Yellow Jackets took their largest lead of the game at 64-55 with 6:31 on the clock. Saint Mary's continued to chip away and get within a possession of the lead as the Belles trailed by one point after Eleni Shea fed a pass to the top of the key to Shanlynn Bias for an open jump shot with just under three minutes remaining. Defiance, however, made it a two-possession game on a three-point play with 2:14 on the clock and held off the Saint Mary's comeback for a 77-71 decision.
Defiance held a 40-28 advantage over Saint Mary's in points in the paint while the Belles scored more points off of turnovers (16-11) and second chance opportunities (19-12) than the Yellow Jackets.
Krista Knapke posted career-high marks with 24 points and 17 rebounds to pace the Belles. Ariana Paul added 15 points, eight rebounds, and five steals. Eleni Shea and Shanlynn Bias scored 11 points and 10 points, respectively. Maddie Kohler chipped in six assists for Saint Mary's.
The Belles (2-4) open up conference play on Wednesday, December 4 when they travel to Adrian for a 7:30 p.m. game against the Bulldogs.