Last-Second Layup Sinks Belles Against Comets

Box Score

OLIVET, Mich. - Maddie Kohler drained a game-tying three pointer with 10 seconds left, but Olivet had the final say in the game with a layup with four-tenths of a second on the clock to take the 70-68 decision over Saint Mary's in a conference basketball match up.

Well before the nail-biting finish, the Belles edged their way back from an early 4-0 deficit to take a nine-point lead heading into halftime. Olivet held a 24-23 advantage with 8:12 left in the first half before the Belles took over the momentum and the lead. A balanced effort that saw six different Saint Mary's players score over the final six-and-a-half minutes propelled the Belles to a 16-6 run to end the half.

Krista Knapke led the Belles with 23 points.
Krista Knapke led all players with
23 points.
The Comets started the second period on a 10-3 run to cut the lead to two points at 42-20 in favor of Saint Mary's. Krista Knapke connected on three consecutive possessions for the Belles to push the Saint Mary's advantage back to eight points with 14:52 on the clock.

Two possessions later, Maddie Kohler made it a 50-42 lead for the Belles with under 14 minutes remaining. Olivet countered with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 50-50. Again, the Belles put together a run of their own to counter the Comets with nine straight points to match the largest lead of the night and pull ahead 59-50. Shanlynn Bias kept it a nine-point lead for Saint Mary's with a jump shot to put the Belles ahead 61-52 with 8:33 remaining.

The Belles, however, hit a dry spell from the floor and were unable to make anything other than four free throws over the next 8:11 of play. Olivet, conversely, hit six shots from the floor and three free throws for a 68-65 lead with just 22 seconds remaining.

On Saint Mary's next possession, Maddie Kohler made the most of her opening from two steps behind the arc on the left side of the court to hit the clutch game-tying three pointer with 10 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, Olivet's Chelsea Ciba took the in-bounds pass the length of the court and initially appeared to be too far under the basket before sending a layup up off the glass and in with four-tenths of a second left for the game-winner.

In a case of role-reversal, the Belles made more than 56 percent of their shots in the first half to Olivet's 37.8 field goal percentage while the Comets posted a 50 percent field goal percentage in the second half to Saint Mary's 35.5 percent effort. The MIAA second-place Comets held the 45-34 advantage in rebounds - a category in which Olivet leads all teams in the conference and ranks fourth among all NCAA Division III teams on the season.

Krista Knapke led all players with 23 points. Ariana Paul added 12 points, and Maddie Kohler and Shanlynn Bias each chipped in 10 points for the Belles. Bias also added six rebounds and four assists for Saint Mary's.

The Belles (5-12, 3-5 MIAA) have a break from play this weekend before starting the second round of MIAA play by hosting Adrian on Wednesday, January 29 at 7:30 p.m.