Belles Stopped Short in Season Opener Against Vikings

Box Score

  • Sarah Macius scored a career-high 14 points.
  • Kelsey Ronan added seven points while four players each had six points.
  • Maddie Kohler had a career-high four steals.

CHICAGO, Ill. - The second and third quarters were the big difference makers as the Saint Mary's basketball team fell by a 64-49 final at North Park in their season opener on Tuesday evening.

The teams traded blows back and forth to open the game before the Belles established the upper hand with a six-point spurt. Saint Mary's turned a 4-3 deficit into an 11-4 lead with buckets by Eleni Shea, Maddie Kohler, Krista Knapke, and Sarah Macius. A three-pointer by the Vikings in the final 40 seconds of the period made it 11-7 at the first break.

A 13-0 run by North Park quickly shifted the momentum of the game in the second quarter as the Belles saw a 13-7 lead turn into a 20-13 deficit. Shea hit a jumper to stop the run and make it 20-15. In the final minute of the period, Macius drained a three-pointer to push the score to 27-20 as the game went to the halftime break at that same score.

Krista Knapke and Kelsey Ronan opened up the third quarter with consecutive baskets for the Belles to cut the deficit to 27-24. The Vikings responded with a jumper, but Maddie Kohler came up with an immediate response with a three-pointer to make it a 29-27 game with more than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. A big run by North Park over the next four minutes, however, turned it into a 42-30 game with less than three minutes left on the clock in the third.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Belles continued to battle despite facing a 47-34 deficit. Despite their best defensive and offensive efforts, Saint Mary's could not cut the Vikings' lead to fewer than 11 points over the final 10 minutes of play.

The host Vikings out-scored the Belles by a 40-23 margin over the second and third periods of the game while Saint Mary's held a 26-24 edge in scoring in the first and fourth periods of play.

Sarah Macius led the Belles with a career-high 14 points on the night. Kelsey Ronan added seven points. Krista Knapke, Maddie Kohler, Eleni Shea, and Gabby Diamond each chipped in six points. Knapke led Saint Mary's with eight rebounds, and Kohler had a single-game career-high four steals.

The Belles (0-1) return to the Chicagoland area this weekend when they compete in the Wheaton College Beth Baker Classic on Friday and Saturday. Saint Mary's opens play on Friday against host Wheaton starting at 3:00 p.m. CST.