Late Dry Spell Halts Belles Against Big Blue
- Eleni Shea scored a career-high 20 points while pulling down five rebounds.
- Maddie Kohler matched her career-high point total with 14 to go along with three assists and two steals.
- Krista Knapke added 12 points and five rebounds.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Krista Knapke tied up the game at 60-60 with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Belles were unable to pick up any more points over the final five-plus minutes of play as the Saint Mary's basketball team fell by a 73-60 final against Millikin.
In a game which featured nine ties and 10 lead changes, the Belles took the lead at the first break on a jump shot by Krista Knapke in the final half-minute.
The second quarter saw Millikin rattle off a 12-0 run for a 25-16 lead. The Belles stormed right back with seven straight points to make it 25-24. Maddie Kohler sunk a three-pointer, Krista Knapke completed a three-point play, and Sarah Macius drained a jump shot at the top of the key to get the Belles right back into the game. The Big Blue continued to hold the lead, however, as they took a 34-29 advantage into the halftime break.
Both teams came out of the break and continued to play neck-and-neck at both ends of the floor. Trailing 38-35 with just over six minutes left in the third quarter, Eleni Shea pulled down an offensive rebound and made the put-back to make it 38-37. Maddie Kohler then came up with a steal and hit the pull up jump shot in the lane on the fastbreak at the other end to give the Belles a 39-38 lead. Krista Knapke made it a 43-40 game a minute and a half later as Saint Mary's took advantage of a turnover yet again. The Big Blue countered with a quick scoring spurt of their own to regain the lead, but Shea hit a jump shot with four seconds left in the period to make it a 51-47 game in favor of Millikin heading into the final ten minutes.
The final quarter was a tense one at both ends of the court. Maddie Kohler hit a mid-range jump shot before sinking her second three-pointer of the game on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 54-54. Shea then gave the Belles the lead with a jump shot with eight minutes on the clock. A three-pointer by the Big Blue pushed Millikin ahead 57-56, but Shea came right back with another jumper to put the Belles up 58-57. A free throw and a layup by the Big Blue saw the lead change hands yet again before Knapke tied the game yet again at 60-60 with a jumper in the paint with six minutes to go. Unfortunately for the Belles, those would be the last points of the game despite several good shots and second-chance looks down the stretch.
Millikin went up for good with a layup with four minutes to go as both teams had trouble getting shots to fall. The difference down the stretch proved to be free throws as the Belles were forced to foul to try to get the ball back. The Big Blue made 11-of-14 of their free throws during the final three minutes of play for the 73-60 final score.
The Belles committed fewer turnovers (21) than the Big Blue (24), but Millikin managed to out-score Saint Mary's 22-17 in points off of those turnovers. The Big Blue also held a 46-30 margin in rebounds with a 14-4 edge in second-chance points.
Eleni Shea led the Belles a career-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds. Maddie Kohler matched her career-high with 14 points while adding three assists and two steals. Krista Knapke chipped in 12 points and five rebounds.
The Belles (1-10) are off until after Christmas and are next in action on December 28 at Otterbein, where they will participate in the Smokey Ballenger Classic on December 28 and 29. The Belles face host Otterbein at 7:30 p.m. on day one.