Belles Edged Out by Hornets
- Erin Maloney scored a career-high 16 points while adding five assists, five rebounds, and two steals on the night.
- Aspen Davis and Megan Will each scored nine points.
- Kelsey Ronan chipped in seven points and six rebounds.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Despite matching the host Hornets point for point in the final period of play, the Saint Mary's basketball team fell in a 70-54 conference contest against Kalamazoo on Wednesday evening.
Kalamazoo opened the game with a three-pointer and later hit a fastbreak layup to grab a 7-3 lead through the first four minutes of action. Erin Maloney sunk a three-pointer of her own to cut the deficit to one, and Maloney dished a pass to Gabby Diamond for a jump shot in the lane to give the Belles an 8-7 lead with under four minutes left on the clock in the first period. Back-to-back buckets by the Hornets saw Kalamazoo regain an 11-8 lead, but Maloney came up with another answer with a jump shot to pull the Belles within a point with 1:44 on the clock. The sophomore guard hit the front end of a trip to the free throw line with under 30 seconds in the quarter to make it a one-point game yet again, but the Hornets took advantage of an extended possession late and hit a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the period to go up 15-11 at the first break.
The Belles struck first in the second quarter as Olivia Lathers kept Saint Mary's close with a jump shot more than a minute into play. Kalamazoo responded, however, with a 12-1 run over the span of 4:12 to claim a 27-14 lead. Aspen Davis put a stop to the run with a three-pointer, and Maloney hit both ends of a trip to the charity stripe to make it a 27-19 game with less than a minute remaining on the clock before halftime. Much like the end of the first quarter, the Hornets hit a late three-pointer to regain some momentum going into the halftime break while holding a 30-19 lead.
Maloney continued her strong night and pulled the Belles within a single-digit margin of the Hornets at 30-21 with a jumper to open the third quarter. Two possessions later, Megan Will hit a jump shot of her own to again make it a nine-point game at 32-23. Over the next three minutes, however, Kalamazoo could hardly miss a shot while the Belles could not get a bounce to go their way off the rim as the Hornets used a 12-0 run to mount a 44-23 lead with 4:20 left in the quarter. The Belles continued to fight as Kelsey Ronan sunk a pair of shots and Delaney Rohlman added a free throw before knocking down a three-pointer to make it a 48-31 game with just under two minutes remaining on the clock. Maloney added another three-pointer in the final minute of the period to give the Belles some momentum heading into the fourth quarter as Saint Mary's trailed 50-34.
Saint Mary's edged their way closer and closer to Kalamazoo throughout the fourth quarter. A pair of free throws by Kelsey Trimble got the Belles with 14 points early in the period, and a three-pointer by Aspen Davis made it a 13-point game with almost four minutes remaining on the clock. The comeback, however, was not to be for the Belles as the Hornets continue to find an answer during the period. Both sides put 20 points on their respective sides of the scoreboard over the final 10 minutes of play for the 70-54 final decision.
The Belles made a season-high seven three-pointers, marking the most made shots behind the arc for a Saint Mary's team since the squad made eight in two games during the 2008-09 season. The Belles had two fewer turnovers than host Kalamazoo while the Hornets held a +13 margin in rebounds in the contest.
Erin Maloney scored a career-high 16 points while adding five assists, five rebounds, and two steals on the night. Aspen Davis and Megan Will each scored nine points. Kelsey Ronan chipped in seven points and six rebounds. Gabby Diamond registered a career-best four assists while scoring five points and pulling down four rebounds.
The Belles (1-12, 0-5 MIAA) return home to host Alma on Saturday, January 7 for their first home contest in nearly a month. Saint Mary's and the Scots tip off at 3:00 p.m. in Angela Athletic Facility.