Belles Prevail Against Scots
- Krista Knapke led the Belles with 14 points and seven assists.
- Erin Maloney was 7-of-7 from the free throw line with season-highs of 13 points and five steals.
- Eleni Shea added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Maddie Kohler scored a season-best 11 points.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team earned their first win of the season with a 68-56 decision against conference foe Alma on Wednesday evening.
Both teams came out of the opening tip-off firing on all cylinders as the score was already at 14-12 in favor of the Belles with just under four minutes left in the first period. The pace of play leveled out and the scoring took a back seat to defense as Saint Mary's held a 16-15 lead at the first break.
The teams traded three baskets back-and-forth to open the second quarter, and the Scots went ahead 19-18 with a jump shot with 8:12 on the clock. The Belles got tough on the defensive glass and took advantage of their quick-moving offense as Saint Mary's hit four shots in-a-row to rattle off nine consecutive points in less than two minutes for a 27-19 lead. Maddie Kohler hit a three-pointer, Gabby Diamond sunk a pair of shots, and Eleni Shea was good with a layup to give the Belles their biggest lead of the half to that point. Alma stopped the run and found another response bucket to cut the lead to six points twice, but the Belles closed out the half with a 6-0 spurt for a 38-25 halftime lead.
Saint Mary's continued that run to open the third quarter as Erin Maloney and Krista Knapke each scored in the opening three minutes to push the lead to 40-26. Kohler added a jump shot with 6:06 on the clock to make it a 44-28 game. Saint Mary's kept the Scots at bay by keeping at least a nine-point lead until Alma made a late push in the final 1:06 to cut the lead down to eight points at 48-40 heading into the final period of play.
The Scots took advantage of some early trips to the free throw line in the fourth quarter as the score moved to 52-47 in favor of Saint Mary's. Eleni Shea found the bottom of the net with a layup to put the Belles ahead 54-47, but the Scots hit a three-pointer on the next possession to cut the lead to 54-50.
After the Saint Mary's timeout following the three-pointer, the Belles had two possessions that showed their grit and determination. Krista Knapke pulled down an offensive rebound, and after a foul call, threaded a pass down the lane to Kelsey Ronan for a layup. Ronan grabbed a defensive board at the other end after the Scots missed a layup, and the Belles came out on top after a sequence of missed layups and offensive rebounds led to Erin Maloney hitting a layup and converting the three-point play to put Saint Mary's up 59-50.
The Scots pulled within five points at 59-54 and 61-56, but the Belles would not be denied the win at home. Maddie Kohler hit a jump shot with 1:39 remaining to make it 63-56. The senior then drained both ends of a double bonus trip to the free throw line. Eleni Shea added a free throw, and Erin Maloney chipped in two free throws late in the game to lift the Belles to the final 68-56 margin of victory. The Belles' defense was key to holding the Scots to 0-of-5 shooting from the floor over the final four minutes of play.
Saint Mary's outscored the Scots 32-22 in the paint while holding a 35-30 edge in rebounding.
Krista Knapke led the Belles with 14 points and seven assists. Erin Maloney had season-highs of 13 points and five steals to go along with three assists and a 7-of-7 performance from the charity stripe. Eleni Shea added 13 points and nine rebounds with four assists. Maddie Kohler chipped in a season-high 11 points while tallying four assists and three steals.
The Belles (1-8, 1-2 MIAA) travel to in-state MIAA rival Trine for a 1:00 p.m. contest on Saturday.