Second-Half Shooting Sets Belles Back Against Nationally-Ranked Hope
- Gabby Diamond led all players with 22 points and added seven rebounds for the Belles.
- Erin Maloney and Giavanna Paradiso each scored four points.
- Gabby Crown added three points.
HOLLAND, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team fell in a 69-40 final against No. 6 ranked Hope in conference action on Saturday afternoon.
The Belles kept close to the Flying Dutch throughout much of the first and second quarters of action. Giavanna Paradiso put Saint Mary's on the scoreboard to make it a 5-2 game, and Gabby Diamond drained a three-pointer two-plus minutes later to keep the Belles close at 11-5 with 5:59 on the clock. Diamond added a jumper at the top of the lane two possessions later, and Megan Saunders sunk a shot with under four minutes left in the period to make it a 13-9 game. The Flying Dutch extended their lead to nine points at 18-9, but Caroline Macius added a good jump shot with 1:45 to play in the quarter to edge the score to 18-11. Diamond added another bucket late in the period, and the score stood at 20-13 after the first quarter of action.
Olivia Lathers opened the second quarter with a free throw, and Diamond added back-to-back buckets a short while later to pull Saint Mary's within five points of Hope at 23-18. The Flying Dutch hit a shot in the paint a little over the minute later. The Belles responded right back with a Gabby Crown three-pointer, a layup by Diamond, and a free throw by Bern McGeever to make it 25-24 with 3:56 on the clock. Hope, however, closed out the half with a 6-0 scoring spurt to hold a 31-24 lead at the break.
Giavanna Paradiso hit a layup early in the third quarter to make it a two-possession game at 31-26. Hope distanced themselves with a 15-0 run over the next six minutes of play to take a 46-26 lead. The Belles broke up their scoring drought with a good jump shot by Erin Maloney with 2:13 on the clock, and Diamond and Maloney each added a bucket in the final minute of the quarter to give the Belles some momentum heading into the final quarter despite trailing 48-32.
Hope put an end to that momentum shift as the host Flying Dutch opened up the fourth period with another big run to gain a 61-32 lead. Jessica Potter hit a free throw to get the Belles into the scoring column in the quarter, and Diamond added seven points down the stretch, but the deficit was too large to overcome in a 69-40 final.
Hope connected on 14-of-28 (50.0 percent) of their shots from the floor over the final 20 minutes of play while Saint Mary's hit 6-of-38 (15.8 percent) of their shots during the same span of time.
Gabby Diamond led all players with 22 points and added seven rebounds for the Belles. Erin Maloney and Giavanna Paradiso each scored four points. Gabby Crown added three points.
The Belles (6-17, 3-11 MIAA) travel to Alma on Wednesday, February 14 for a 7:30 p.m. contest against the Scots.