Paul Reaches 1,000 Points, Belles Fall to Comets in Finale
OLIVET, Mich. - Ariana Paul scored her 1,000th career point in the second half, but the Belles were unable to overcome their deficit against Olivet as the Saint Mary's basketball team lost 83-78 in their season finale.
The Belles used a 6-0 run over a span of 1:19 early in the game to tie the score at 8-8 with 16:01 on the clock. Olivet responded with eight straight points to break the tie and go ahead 16-8 five minutes later.
Back-to-back layups by Kelsey Ronan cut the deficit to four points at 18-14, but the Comets responded with another run to extend their lead to 29-16 with five minutes remaining before the halftime break.
Maddie Kohler converted a three-point play to get the Belles within 32-24 at 1:25, and Ariana Paul and Krista Knapke closed out the half with the final four points of the period to see the Belles facing the same eight-point difference at the break with the score set at 36-28.
Paul opened up the second half with a jump shot to make it 36-30, but the Comets had another response for the Belles as Olivet rattled off a 17-2 run to push the score to 53-32 as the clock moved under the 16-minute mark.
Just as they had done all season, the Belles refused to give up.
Timoney Moyer picked up an offensive rebound and got the put-back to fall. Less than a minute later, Paul tallied her 1,000th career point to make it a 53-36 game. Paul, Sarah Macius, and Gabby Diamond kept the scoring going to edge Saint Mary's within 55-44 with 10:43 to go.
The Comets continued to hold the double-digit advantage, but Moyer scored three straight to continue to shift the momentum the Belles' way. With less than eight minutes remaining, Krista Knapke made a pass to a wide open Maddie Kohler on the left wing, and the junior drained the mid-range jump shot to make it an eight-point game. On the next possession, the pair traded roles with Kohler feeding a pass to Knapke, who had a shot fake and made a move to her left on the right wing before hitting a 15-foot jumper to make it 61-55 with 7:21 on the clock. The teams traded shots back-and-forth with Olivet going up by nine before Saint Mary's cut right back within five points at 64-59 and 66-61.
The Comets regained a double-digit lead at 73-61 after four free throws and a three-pointer, but Kohler responded with a three to breathe life back into the Belles' efforts. The junior guard continued to keep Saint Mary's hopes alive late with a jump shot and another three-pointer to make it a 78-71 game with a minute to go.
Ariana Paul then posted four points in-a-row to cut the deficit to five points with 24 seconds left in the game, but the Comets made both ends of a double bonus trip to the free throw line to push their lead to 82-75 two seconds later. Timoney Moyer drained a three-pointer on the Belles' next possession, but the comeback effort ran out of time with Olivet taking the 83-78 final.
The Belles scored 50 points in the second half against the Comets, which was the second highest scoring second half for the team during the 2014-15 season (51 points vs. North Central).
Ariana Paul became the eleventh player in program history to score 1,000 career points. The senior finished the game with 21 points and 11 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the year. Maddie Kohler added a season-high 13 points, including a pair of second-half three-pointers, to go along with four assists. Timoney Moyer posted a career-best 12 points, all of which came in the second period. Krista Knapke also scored 12 points.
The Belles conclude their season with a 3-22 overall record and a 1-15 mark in conference play.