Fast Start Not Enough for Belles Against Flying Dutch
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Through the first ten minutes of play, the Saint Mary's basketball team showed they were more than ready to take on the twelfth-ranked squad from Hope on Saturday. A run by the visiting Flying Dutch, however, turned out to be the final sway in momentum as the Belles fell by a 72-45 final.
The Belles were firing on all cylinders to open the game. Eleni Shea drained a jump shot on the team's first possession for the early 2-0 lead. Less than thirty seconds later, Krista Knapke hit Kelsey Ronan on a backdoor cut for a layup and a 4-0 advantage. Maddie Kohler then pulled down a defensive board on the other end and threaded a tight pass down to the post to an open Ariana Paul for the easy layup and the 6-0 Saint Mary's lead just 1:30 into the game.
Over the next several minutes, the Belles continued to come up with an answer for anything the Flying Dutch threw their way. Shea and Knapke both helped Saint Mary's maintain the lead by regaining a five-point advantage for the Belles at 8-3 and 10-5 five minutes into the contest.
A pair of layups by Hope made it a one-point game at 10-9 with 13:32 still remaining on the clock, but Kohler hit a jump shot and Molly Robinson sunk both ends of a trip to the free throw line to put the Belles ahead 14-9 with 12:10 to go.
The rhythm and momentum of the game shifted Hope's way over the next seven minutes. The Flying Dutch went on a tear and scored on seven consecutive possessions to jump start a 28-2 run. That run, capped off by a layup, put Hope ahead 37-16 with five minutes left before the half.
A late free throw gave the Flying Dutch the largest lead of the half at 44-21 as the teams headed into the halftime break.
Hope held at least a 21-point lead throughout the second half despite the fact that the difference in scoring for the second period was just 28-26 in favor of the Flying Dutch.
Saint Mary's out-rebounded the Flying Dutch by a 49-43 margin with an 18-10 edge in offensive boards. The Belles also had a higher ratio of assists to made buckets (13 assists on 17 baskets) than Hope (17 assists, 26 baskets).
Ariana Paul led Saint Mary's with 13 points while collecting eight rebounds and seven steals. Eleni Shea added 11 points and six rebounds. Krista Knapke had a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with six points. Maddie Kohler chipped in five points on the afternoon.
The Belles (3-17, 1-10 MIAA) continue a stretch of five consecutive home games on Wednesday, February 4 when they host Adrian at 7:30 p.m.