Belles Fall Short Against Bulldogs
- Eleni Shea led the Belles with 16 points.
- Gabby Diamond added 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
- Krista Knapke chipped in 12 points, and Maddie Kohler led all players with five assists.
ADRIAN, Mich. - The Belles went 4-of-14 shooting from the floor in the third quarter as host Adrian outscored Saint Mary's 22-10 in the period on the way to the 71-58 final score.
The opening quarter featured five lead changes and one tie as the Belles opened up the scoring with a Maddie Kohler three-pointer. Three minutes later, Krista Knapke regained the lead for the Belles with a jump shot to make it 4-3 with 6:21 on the clock. Gabby Diamond then came up with a second-chance bucket two minutes later for an 8-7 lead for the Belles, and Diamond and Eleni Shea gave Saint Mary's their largest lead of the quarter at 10-7 and 12-9 as the clock moved below three minutes. The Bulldogs, however, rattled off seven consecutive points over the next 1:10 of play to pull ahead 16-12, and Adrian took an 18-14 lead into the first quarter-break of the game.
Shea hit a jumper on the Belles' opening possession of the second quarter, and Kelsey Ronan added a free throw to make it a one-point game at 18-17 in a period that ebbed and flowed in terms of momentum. Just as the Belles got close, the Bulldogs sunk a pair of shots to regain a six-point lead at 23-17. Saint Mary's found a response with five consecutive points to edge within 23-22 with 6:29 on the clock, but Adrian made it a two-possession game with a three-pointer at the other end. With the Bulldogs up by four points, Diamond knocked down a layup with 4:31 remaining before Shea and Knapke each hit a free throw over the next minute and a half to tie the game at 28-28 with over three minutes left. Adrian responded with a layup and three free throws, but Shea hit a jump shot with 13 seconds left to make it a 33-30 game in favor of the Bulldogs heading into halftime.
Adrian opened the third quarter with a layup and a three-pointer to go up 38-30, but the Belles kept within striking distance with a layup by Knapke just under the eight-minute mark. Both teams continued to trade points back and forth as the margin was still eight points at 45-37 with 4:28 to go. Despite getting good looks at the basket and working through their plays, the Belles could not get the shots to fall late in the quarter as Adrian closed out the period with six straight points for a 55-40 lead.
Continuing to fight, Saint Mary's caused the Bulldogs to turn the ball over to open the fourth quarter, and Eleni Shea converted a three-point play to make it 55-43. Gabby Diamond added a bucket of her own a minute later to make it a 12-point game again at 57-45. The comeback effort for the Belles, however, could not erase the deficit down the stretch as Adrian claimed the 71-58 decision.
The Belles committed just 12 turnovers while forcing the Bulldogs into 21 giveaways. Adrian, however, held a significant edge in rebounding (55-37) in the game.
Eleni Shea led the Belles with 16 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Gabby Diamond added a double-double with 15 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. Krista Knapke chipped in 12 points on the afternoon, and Maddie Kohler led all players with five assists while scoring six points.
The Belles (1-14, 1-5 MIAA) travel to Kalamazoo on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. conference game.