Belles Vanquish Spartans
- Gabby Diamond led all players with a career-high 23 points while pulling down 11 rebounds.
- Erin Maloney added a career-high 15 points with five assists, six rebounds, and two steals in the win.
- Megan Will chipped in eight points, and Ally Steve tallied seven points.
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team held off a late run by host Manchester to earn a 64-62 win over the Spartans on Friday night in the Main View Tipoff Classic.
The two sides were well matched throughout the entire contest as the first 10 minutes of play featured four ties and three lead changes. The Belles held a 10-9 lead with 2:50 left on the clock after Megan Will had an offensive board and put-back for a bucket. The Spartans hit the front end of a pair of free throws with just under two minutes remaining in the period. A three-pointer by Manchester gave the hosts a 13-10 lead with 1:36 on the clock. Gabby Diamond put the Belles within a point 20 seconds later with a layup. The Spartans added a free throw on their next possession to take a 14-12 lead into the first break.
Manchester opened the scoring in the second quarter with a layup to go up 16-12, but the Belles saw to it that the four-point difference was as large of a lead as the hosts would get on the night. Diamond came up with a response bucket on the next possession, and Erin Maloney tied up the game at 16-16 with a pair of free throws on an extended possession just a few seconds later. The teams battled back and forth as the scoreboard saw six more ties. Maloney broke the last of those ties of the quarter with a free throw with 14 seconds on the clock before halftime to give the Belles a 30-29 lead going into the midway break.
Trailing 34-30 early in the third quarter, the Belles went on a 13-0 run in the span of three minutes of play to claim a 43-34 lead. Caroline Macius got the run started with a jump shot. Megan Will tied the game with a jump shot, and Aspen Davis drained a three-pointer to give the Belles the lead - a lead Saint Mary's would not give up for the remainder of the contest. Maloney, Will, and Delaney Rohlman each chipped in a jump shot for the 43-34 Saint Mary's lead with 5:36 left in the third quarter. Manchester edged within two points twice before Diamond extended the advantage to a two-possession lead twice. A late layup by the Spartans, however, made it a 47-45 game heading into the final quarter of play.
After the Spartans cut the Belles' lead to one point at both 47-46 and 49-48, Saint Mary's went on a decisive and time-consuming 10-0 run to take control of the contest. Ally Steve sank consecutive three-pointers before adding a free throw for an eight-point cushion for the Belles with 3:44 to go. Diamond then gave the Belles the largest lead of the contest with a jump shot as Steve picked up the assist for a 58-48 Saint Mary's lead with 3:13 on the clock. Four consecutive free throws and a layup by Manchester breathed life into the Spartans, but Maloney hit a pair of free throws to put the Belles ahead 60-54 with just over a minute to go. In a tense final minute of play, the Spartans hit three-pointers to edge within both three (60-57) and two (62-60) points of Saint Mary's. Maloney and Diamond, however, hit all four of their free throw attempts late to secure the victory for the Belles.
Saint Mary's held a 45-36 advantage in total rebounds and a 31-23 edge in defensive boards. The Belles hit two more shots (23) from the floor in the contest than the Spartans (21) as the two sides were even in made free throws (15) on the night.
The win is the first career coaching victory for head coach Melissa Makielski.
Gabby Diamond led all players with a career-high 23 points while pulling down 11 rebounds for the Belles. Erin Maloney added a career-high 15 points and rounded out the stat sheet with five assists, six rebounds, and two steals in the win. Megan Will chipped in eight points, and Ally Steve tallied seven points.
The Belles (1-1) take on Oglethorpe at 1:00 p.m. on day two of the Main View Tipoff Classic at Manchester University.