Belles Prevail Against Hornets
- Gabby Diamond posted her second consecutive double-double with team highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds.
- Olivia Lathers chipped in 11 points.
- Erin Maloney added eight points, eight rebounds, six steals, and two assists.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team stood tall on defense on the final possession of the game and held host Kalamazoo without a shot as the Belles took a 60-57 win over the Hornets on Wednesday night.
The two sides were neck-and-neck throughout the entire first quarter of action. Kalamazoo snagged a 4-2 lead a minute into play, but Olivia Lathers responded by draining a three-pointer to give Saint Mary's their first lead of the game on the next possession. The teams traded buckets back and forth with Gabby Diamond, Giavanna Paradiso, and Megan Saunders all collecting points with Saint Mary's holding a 10-8 edge midway through the period. The Hornets put the next four points on the scoreboard over the next two and a half minutes of play. Diamond knotted the score on the next possession for Saint Mary's to make it 12-12 with 2:19 on the clock. Kalamazoo regained a 14-12 lead with just over a minute remaining on the clock, but Gabby Diamond sunk a jumper just before the end of the quarter as the game saw its fifth tie at the end of one period.
Kalamazoo put a free throw and a jump shot on the scoreboard to open the second quarter for a 17-14 lead. Saint Mary's countered with a free throw by Carin Kaminski and a jump shot by Olivia Lathers tied the game at 17-17 with 7:42 on the clock. The Hornets and the Belles continued to trade buckets. Diamond tied the game at 19-19 on a second-chance bucket, and Erin Maloney gave Saint Mary's a 22-21 lead on a three-pointer from the left wing with five minutes remaining before halftime. That bucket from Maloney jump-started a 9-0 run for the Belles as Saint Mary's built a 28-21 lead late in the quarter. Gabby Crown, Olivia Lathers, and Caroline Macius each put points on the board for the seven-point advantage. Kalamazoo, however, closed out the period with a 5-2 spurt to make it a 30-27 Saint Mary's lead at the halftime break.
The host Hornets carried that momentum over into the third quarter and took a 33-32 lead with a 6-2 run. Olivia Lathers made that lead short-lived as the sophomore drained a three-pointer on the Belles' next possession to put Saint Mary's ahead 35-33. Megan Saunders added a jump shot less than 30 seconds later to make it 37-33, but Kalamazoo converted a three-point play to stay close. The Belles responded right back with a 9-0 run to pull ahead 46-36. Megan Will added a three-pointer a short while later, and Carin Kaminski sunk a jumper to give Saint Mary's a 51-43 lead going into the final period of play.
Bern McGeever and Gabby Diamond each hit layups as the Belles maintained a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. A few minutes later, Diamond hit back-to-back buckets for the Belles to give Saint Mary's a 59-47 lead with 3:52 to play. Despite getting several good looks at the basket, the Belles were unable to convert any shots from the floor over the final three minutes of play. The defense forced the Hornets into some tough shots over that same stretch, however, as Saint Mary's held a 59-54 lead with a minute to play. Kalamazoo hit a three-pointer with 36 seconds left on the clock to make it a 59-57 game. Olivia Lathers came up with a crucial offensive rebound on the Belles' next possession, and the Hornets were forced to foul to try to keep the game alive. Lathers hit the first free throw, but the second was missed as Kalamazoo gained the defensive rebound. The Saint Mary's defense held strong late and did not allow a shot off in time as the Belles took the 60-57 win.
The Belles out-rebounded the Hornets 39-38 and hit two more three-pointers (5) than Kalamazoo (2). Saint Mary's connected on 22-of-55 shots from the floor on the night (43.6 percent) while the Hornets made 21-of-61 attempts (34.4 percent). The Belles also held scoring margins in points in the paint, points off of turnovers, second-chance points, and points from non-starters.
Gabby Diamond posted her second consecutive double-double with team highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Olivia Lathers chipped in 11 points. Erin Maloney added eight points, eight rebounds, six steals, and two assists. Giavanna Paradiso tallied seven points, six assists, and two assists. Megan Saunders had six points, four assists, and two steals.
The Belles (5-9, 3-3 MIAA) travel to in-state MIAA foe Trine on Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. tilt against the Thunder.