Belles Upended by Vikings in Season Opener
- Gabby Diamond and Olivia Lathers each had 10 points to lead the Belles.
- Diamond chipped in a team-best seven rebounds.
- Megan Saunders and Megan Will each added six points, and Erin Maloney dropped in four points.
CHICAGO, Ill. - The Saint Mary's basketball team fell by a 76-48 final score against North Park in the season opener for both teams on Friday evening in the North Park University Tip-Off Tournament.
The sides were neck-and-neck to open play. Giavanna Paradiso hit a layup, and Gabby Diamond added a jumper a minute and a half later to give Saint Mary's an early 5-2 advantage with 6:51 remaining in the opening period. North Park put the next 12 points on the scoreboard to gain a 14-5 lead with under four minutes remaining in the first quarter, but Olivia Lathers and Kelsey Trimble each hit shots in the paint to put the Belles right back into the mix at 14-9 with 2:09 on the clock. The teams traded free throws before the host Vikings closed out the quarter with three points in the final minute for a 19-10 advantage at the first break.
Diamond opened the second quarter with a layup to cut the deficit to seven points at 19-12, and Delaney Rohlman had a nearly immediate response layup of her own a few possessions later as the Belles kept close at 24-14. Trailing 28-17 with 6:14 on the clock, Olivia Lathers and Megan Will each drained a three-pointer to pull Saint Mary's within 28-23 with 5:28 to play in the second quarter. Both sides had a scoring drought over the next three-plus minutes of action until the Vikings hit a layup with 1:49 left before the half. Four free throws and a three-pointer extended the North Park lead to 37-23 at the halftime break.
Diamond cut the deficit to 12 to open the half, and Erin Maloney drained a three-pointer midway through the third quarter to again make the difference 12 at 47-35. The Vikings responded used a 9-1 scoring spurt over the next four minutes to extend their lead to 56-36. Bern McGeever hit a three with ten seconds left in the period to make it a 56-39 score at the quarter break.
North Park opened the fourth quarter with a layup, but Lathers and Diamond each hit close-range shots as the Belles continued to battle at 58-43. The Vikings, however, out-scored Saint Mary's 18-2 over the next six and a half minutes of play to pull away for good.
Gabby Diamond and Olivia Lathers each had 10 points to lead the Belles. For Lathers, the 10 point effort was a career-best. Diamond chipped in a team-best seven rebounds. Megan Saunders and Megan Will each added six points, and Erin Maloney dropped in four points.
The Belles (0-1) will take on either Ohio Northern or Bluffton on Saturday afternoon at North Park.