Belles Hang Tough With No. 11 Titans
- Eleni Shea had 15 points and added a career-high six assists.
- Krista Knapke scored 15 points and led the Belles with seven rebounds.
- Kelsey Ronan and Sarah Macius each added six points.
WHEATON, Ill. - The score was not indicative of the way much of the game went for the Saint Mary's basketball team against Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The Belles fell by a 70-51 margin against the No. 11 ranked Titans, but Saint Mary's was in contention until late in the contest against Oshkosh.
As both teams looked to find their rhythm early in the game, the Belles came up with responses to the Titans throughout the first half of play. With Oshkosh up 12-7 with 2:20 left on the clock in the first quarter, Saint Mary's rattled off six consecutive points in two minutes to claim a 13-12 lead. A late foul call and two free throws with six seconds on the clock put Oshkosh up 14-13 at the end of the first period of play.
Oshkosh tried to put together a run in the second quarter, but the Belles once again had an answer with some solid defensive plays and a stretch of strong offensive possessions. Trailing 20-13, Sarah Macius came up with a steal and found Maddie Kohler for a jump shot to begin shifting the momentum to Saint Mary's. Caroline Macius pulled down a defensive board a short while later, and Kohler hit Eleni Shea in the paint for a bucket to make it 20-17. Shea then sunk a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game, and Sarah Macius nailed a three-pointer to put the Belles up 22-20 with 4:44 to go before the half.
The Belles continued to have the upper hand in the second quarter until the Titans put together a short 9-2 spurt over the final 2:10 of the period for a 32-29 halftime lead.
Oshkosh would hold the lead for the remainder of the game, but the Belles stayed well within striking distance as a handful of players hit key shots. Among those timely buckets was a layup in the third quarter by Shea to make it a 33-31 game with 6:37 on the clock. The Titans extended their lead to 10 at 43-33 with under a minute in the third, but Erin Maloney and Caroline Macius each hit jumpers in the final minute to push the score to 43-37 heading into the final period.
Saint Mary's pulled within five points of the Titans early in the fourth quarter at 43-38 on a free throw by Caroline Macius. Oshkosh, however, used eight straight points over the next minute and a half to distance themselves for good as the Belles could not get within fewer than nine points of the Titans' lead down the stretch.
As a team, the Belles hit 73.3 percent of their free throws (11-of-13) while committing fewer turnovers (17) than the Titans gave away (18). Saint Mary's also posted a season-high 17 assists as six different players registered at least two assists in the game.
Eleni Shea scored 15 points while hitting all five of her free throw attempts and led the team with a career-high six assists on the day. Krista Knapke also scored 15 points and paced the Belles with seven rebounds. Kelsey Ronan hit both shots from the floor and both free throws for six points while blocking a pair of shots. Sarah Macius also had six points.
The Belles (0-3) have their first home game of the season on Tuesday, November 24 when they host Anderson at 7:30 p.m.