Belles Fall Just Short of Bulldogs
- Gabby Diamond had a game-high 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Belles.
- Ally Steve added 11 points and two assists.
- Erin Maloney posted eight points, five assists, three steals, and two blocked shots.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Belles cut the deficit to three points on three occasions in the final quarter but were unable to overtake the visiting Bulldogs as the Saint Mary's basketball team fell 67-56 against Adrian on Wednesday night.
Adrian opened the game with a pair of layups to snag an early lead, but the Belles drew even with the Bulldogs with three made shots by Gabby Diamond to knot the score at 6-6. The guests regained the lead a minute later and used a three-pointer for an 11-6 advantage with four minutes left on the clock. Saint Mary's came right back as Olivia Lathers sunk a mid-range jump shot to cut the deficit to three. The Bulldogs tallied the next two buckets of the period to extend their lead to seven points with under a minute remaining. Just before the buzzer, however, Erin Maloney fed a perfect pass to Caroline Macius, and Macius sunk the 15-foot jumper to make it 15-10 at the first break while giving the Belles the momentum heading into the second period.
Ally Steve then opened up the second quarter with a layup to make it a 15-12 game, but a three-point play by Adrian doubled their lead to six at 18-12. The Belles came up with a big response and rattled off seven quick points to take a 19-18 lead. Megan Will started the run with a jump shot in the paint, and Kelsey Ronan made it a two-point game with a turn-around jumper in the lane. Ally Steve then drained a three-pointer to give the Belles the lead with more than six minutes remaining in the period. More than a minute later, Adrian got back on the scoreboard and regained the lead with a fastbreak jump shot. Two free throws almost a minute later gave the Bulldogs a three-point edge, but Ronan hit another jump shot to keep things close at 22-21 with just over four minutes left on the clock. On the next possession for the Belles, Delaney Rohlman hit both ends of a trip to the line after being fouled while shooting to again make it a one-point game at 24-23. A three-pointer and a jump shot by the Bulldogs, however, saw Adrian extend their lead to two-possessions at 29-23 with over two minutes left before halftime. Neither team had much success finding the bottom of the net over the remainder of the period, but the Bulldogs were able to hit a free throw late in the quarter to take a 30-23 lead at the break.
Adrian extended their lead to ten points at both 35-25 and 37-27 early in the third quarter, but the Belles were far from finished. Ally Steve drained a three-pointer to make it a 37-30 game while energizing the Saint Mary's side. Erin Maloney then came up with response buckets on back-to-back occasions for the Belles to keep within striking distance. Kelsey Ronan pulled down a big offensive board a minute later and hit Gabby Diamond with a pass along the left wing. Diamond drained the mid-range jump shot to make it a 41-36 game with 3:16 left on the clock as the Belles continued to battle. The Bulldogs put a stop to the Belles' run with a layup and a free throw for a 44-36 lead with just over two minutes left on the clock in the third quarter. Again, Saint Mary's came right back with a bucket by Diamond and a free throw by Maloney to cut the deficit to five points at 44-39 with 1:11 to go in the period. A late fastbreak layup by Adrian pushed the score to 46-39 heading into the final period.
The Belles continued to display their grit and composure as Delaney Rohlman picked up a steal and hit the layup early in the fourth quarter to make it 46-41. A minute and a half later, Kelsey Ronan capitalized on an offensive board with a good layup on the put-back to make it a three-point game at 46-43 with just under eight minutes left in the quarter. The Bulldogs turned a steal into two points with 6:50 on the clock, but Diamond wasted little time hitting a shot at the other end to keep the Belles right in the thick of things. Consecutive buckets by Adrian saw the score move to 52-48 with 5:26 still to play. Erin Maloney made quick work of ending a potential run by the visitors as the sophomore coolly sunk a three-pointer at the top of the key to make it a four-point game. The Bulldogs extended a possession a short while later with an offensive board and used a pair of free throws to regain a six-point lead, but Diamond returned the favor with a two good free throws with 3:35 remaining to make it a 54-50 contest. Another offensive board by Adrian was converted into two points, but Ally Steve put life back into the Belles after hitting a no-hesitation three-pointer at the top of the key to make it a 56-53 game with just under three minutes to go. Yet another offensive board for Adrian saw the Bulldogs end up with points, and Adrian added a jump shot on the following possession to push their lead to 60-53 with 1:44 still to play. A string of missed shots and turnovers by the Belles followed by forced fouls to stop the clock saw the Bulldogs put seven of their final eight free throw attempts in as the Adrian lead grew to 67-53 with 31 seconds to play. Gabby Diamond hit a late three for the Belles, but the comeback ran out of time in the 67-56 final.
Saint Mary's outscored Adrian 13-12 in points off of turnovers on the night, but the Bulldogs had ten-point advantages over the Belles in both points in the paint (30-20) and second-chance points (18-8).
Gabby Diamond had a game-high 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Belles. Ally Steve added 11 points and two assists. Erin Maloney posted eight points, five assists, three steals, and two blocked shots. Kelsey Ronan had a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with six points.
The Belles (1-19, 0-12 MIAA) host Kalamazoo at Angela Athletic Facility starting at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 4.