Balance Bolsters Belles Past Hornets
- Megan Will had a season-high and game-best 16 points, and Gabby Diamond collected her fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
- Ally Steve added 11 points with eight of those points coming in the second half.
- Kelsey Ronan tallied nine points, seven rebounds, and career-highs with five assists and four blocked shots.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The best shooting performance of the season coupled with a +16 margin in rebounding provided the right combination for the Belles as the Saint Mary's basketball team claimed a 62-47 win over Kalamazoo on Saturday.
Gabby Diamond, Erin Maloney, and Ally Steve hit four combined shots in the first three minutes of play to give Saint Mary's a 9-3 lead over the Hornets. Kalamazoo responded with a run over the next three and a half minutes to turn the tables and lead 12-11 with 3:20 still remaining in the opening period. Diamond drained a three-pointer two possessions later to give the Belles the lead back, and Olivia Lathers cut through the lane for a layup on the next possession to make it 16-12. The lead never changed hands after that. The Hornets cut their deficit to 16-14 with two free throws, but Caroline Macius hit a mid-range jumper and Megan Will knocked down a three-pointer to give the Belles a 21-14 advantage. Kalamazoo took some momentum heading into the second period with a late shot, however, as the score stood at 21-16 going into the first quarter break.
Kelsey Ronan opened the second quarter with a jump shot in the paint, and Erin Maloney added a layup off of an extended possession a short while later to give Saint Mary's a 25-18 lead. Maloney's second-chance bucket started a stretch where the Belles could hardly miss while the Hornets could not get much to fall as the Belles posted a 12-3 run over the span of six and a half minutes of play. Saint Mary' connected on 50.0 percent of their shots from the floor in the quarter while limiting Kalamazoo to five points in the stanza. Additionally, the Belles had a +7 margin in rebounds during the quarter. That combination gave the Belles a 35-21 lead at the halftime break.
Megan Will opened the third quarter with a three-pointer and added a good jump shot to lift the Belles to a pair of 17-point leads. Kalamazoo pulled right back into contention with a 9-0 run to make it a 40-34 game with 3:02 to play in the period. Ronan had a near-immediate response at the other end with a jump shot in the lane. Maloney and Diamond each sunk a pair of free throws to give Saint Mary's a 46-45 advantage, but five quick points late by the Hornets in the quarter made it a 46-40 score. The Belles fought back with a gritty last possession of the stanza to regain the momentum. Diamond and Will each had offensive rebounds in the final ten seconds, and Will hit a fall-away jump shot just outside the lane as time expired to give Saint Mary's a 48-40 lead going into the final period.
Will, Steve, and Ronan put the first seven points on the board in the fourth quarter to make it a 55-40 game. That point total would end up equaling the points posted by the Hornets over the final ten minutes of action, but the game was not without its drama in the quarter. Kalamazoo lit a spark with a three-pointer off of an extended possession, and the Hornets made it a 10-point game with 2:19 to play after another second-chance bucket. Ally Steve hit a clutch three-pointer on the next possession to sway the energy permanently toward the Belles. Kalamazoo made a pair of free throws with under two minutes remaining on the clock, but Steve tallied two free throws and a jump shot in the final 1:06 to put the game and the win away for Saint Mary's.
The Belles trailed the Hornets for just 1:18 over the duration of the game while hitting a season-high 44.4 percent (24-of-54) of shots from the floor. Saint Mary's pulled down 47 rebounds to Kalamazoo's 31. Eight players for the Belles had at least two rebounds in the win.
Megan Will did not miss a shot from the floor during the second half of play on her way to a season-high and game-best 16 points. The freshman added eight rebounds and three assists. Gabby Diamond collected her fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Ally Steve added 11 points with eight of those points coming in the second half. Kelsey Ronan tallied nine points, seven rebounds, and career-highs with five assists and four blocked shots. Erin Maloney posted seven points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and four steals for the Belles.
The Belles (2-19, 1-12 MIAA) travel to Alma on Wednesday, February 8 for a 7:30 p.m contest against the Scots.