Belles Fall to Ravens in Nail-biter
- Krista Knapke had 22 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds, and four steals.
- Eleni Shea added 18 points.
- Maddie Kohler had nine points, and Erin Maloney chipped in eight points.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team erased an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter with a 14-2 run, but visiting Anderson hit a layup with 50 seconds remaining to go up for good in a 72-70 final on Tuesday night.
In a run-and-gun first quarter of play, Anderson jumped out to a 10-point lead less than four minutes into the contest by scoring 12 of the first 14 points of the game. Still trailing the Ravens by 10 with 4:31 to go in the period, the Belles scored six consecutive points - all by Eleni Shea - to make it 16-12 with 3:24 remaining. With just under two minutes left on the clock, Krista Knapke cut the deficit to three points at 20-17 with a layup, but the Ravens rattled off seven quick points to claim a 30-22 lead at the first break.
Anderson opened the second quarter with a three-pointer to make it 33-22, but the Belles came storming back into the game with an 8-0 run to make it 33-30 while forcing the Ravens into calling a timeout. Despite trailing throughout the entire quarter, the Belles continued to come up with an answer on both ends of the court to keep well within striking distance as the game went to the halftime break with a 44-40 score.
Down by eight points with 5:30 left in the third quarter, Knapke converted a three-point play, Maddie Kohler sunk a mid-range jumper, and Eleni Shea hit a free throw to make it a two-point difference at 52-50 with 4:16 on the clock. On the Belles' next possession, Shea made it a two-point game yet again. Anderson, however, put up the next nine points for a 63-52 advantage with 32 seconds left in the third quarter. Shea hit a pair of free throws just a few seconds later, and the Belles could not capitalize on a late steal by Kohler as Saint Mary's went into the final period of play trailing 63-54.
The Ravens once again opened the quarter with a basket, but the Belles continued to fight and responded with the biggest run of the game. Erin Maloney corralled a steal and hit a fast-break layup to kick-start the Saint Mary's run. Shea, Maloney, Sarah Macius, and Knapke all chipped in points while the defense hunkered down on the other end of the floor as the Belles claimed their first lead of the game at 68-67 with 3:51 to go. Both teams saw their offenses hit a bit of a dry spell late in the game as Anderson regained a 69-68 edge with 2:41 remaining.
Eleni Shea got a friendly roll off the rim and put Saint Mary's back on top with a layup with 1:25 on the clock, but a layup on the next possession by the Ravens put Anderson ahead for good with 50 seconds remaining. The Belles had two late chances - one off a steal and one in the final possession of the game - to try to find the potential go-ahead or game-tying bucket, but neither of the team's final possessions yielded a shot as the clock ran out in the 72-70 final.
The Belles hit 54.0 percent (27-of-50) of their shots from the floor, including 62.5 percent of their shots in the opening two periods of play. Saint Mary's also held the edge over Anderson in points in the paint (40-26) and points off of turnovers (22-15).
Krista Knapke led the Belles with 22 points, a career-high 10 assists, eight rebounds, and four steals. The 10 assists matches the fourth-highest mark for assists in a game for a Belle in program history and is the highest assist output by a post player ever at Saint Mary's. Eleni Shea added 18 points on a 6-of-7 shooting effort from the floor and from the charity stripe. Maddie Kohler chipped in nine points and four assists, and Erin Maloney scored eight points.
The Belles (0-4) return to the hardwood on Saturday when they host neighboring Holy Cross for a 1:00 p.m. contest.