Belles Come Up Short Against Comets
- Giavanna Paradiso led all players with 21 points while pulling down nine rebounds.
- Gabby Diamond added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
- Erin Maloney posted seven steals, seven assists, seven rebounds, and three points.
OLIVET, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team fell in a 55-49 final at Olivet in MIAA action on Saturday.
The Belles took the lead early with a 4-0 run to open the game on layups by Giavanna Paradiso and Gabby Diamond. Saint Mary's extended that lead to five points at 12-7 with 3:12 left in the first quarter after Paradiso put four consecutive points on the scoreboard. The Comets kept close and edged within two points at 12-10, but Erin Maloney hit a free throw to give the Belles a three-point lead with 1:28 remaining on the clock. Neither team was able to convert possessions into points over the remainder of the period as the Belles held the lead at the first break.
Diamond put two points on the scoreboard to open the scoring in the second quarter before both sides went through a three-minute scoring drought. It was the Belles who would break that scoreless stretch as Diamond added her second bucket of the quarter. A jumper, a three-pointer, and two free throws by Olivet knotted the score at 17-17 with just under four minutes remaining on the clock before halftime. Saint Mary's came back with the response as Erin Maloney collected a steal and a layup the other way at 2:26. Delaney Rohlman made it a two-possession lead at 21-17 with a layup of her own with 1:16 on the clock. Again, the two sides were unable to generate any points over the final minute of the period, and the Belles carried the lead into the halftime break.
Paradiso and Diamond continued to provide a potent one-two punch on offense for Saint Mary's as play resumed. Paradiso hit a layup and a jump shot early for a pair of six-point leads. Diamond then added a layup of her own on an extended possession to give Saint Mary's a 27-19 edge. After two free throws by the Comets, it was Paradiso who hit a shot in the lane for a 29-21 lead for the Belles with 7:19 on the clock. Olivet, however, got right back into the thick of things with six quick points to make it a two-point game. Megan Saunders broke up the scoring run with a layup, but the Comets capitalized on four turnovers to turn a four-point deficit into a four-point lead at 35-31. Paradiso and Carin Kaminski combined for three free throws, and Bern McGeever gave the lead back to the Belles with an offensive rebound and put-back. The host Comets, however, closed out the quarter with a layup with 49 seconds on the clock and a free throw with a second left to hold a 38-36 lead going into the final quarter.
Olivet opened the fourth period with a three-pointer and later added a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to gain a 46-38 lead. Delaney Rohlman tallied a free throw, but the Comets put two points on the scoreboard two possessions later to go ahead 48-39 with 5:49 to play. Erin Maloney collected a steal and hit Delaney Rohlman in transition to spark the Belles' efforts. Rohlman then pulled down an offensive board and connected a pass with Diamond for a layup to put the Belles back in the thick of things at 48-43 with 4:23 on the clock. The next seven possessions for Saint Mary's, however, did not yield any points while the Comets were able to post six points over that span to claim a 54-43 lead with just over a minute to play. The Belles continued to fight late in the contest with Paradiso hitting a layup and Diamond sinking a free throw to make it a single-digit lead. Paradiso added a three-point play with 19 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to six points, but the score would stand at that 55-49 margin at the final buzzer.
The Belles outscored the Comets 38-26 in the paint and 21-4 in second-chance points while out-rebounding the hosts 52-33. Olivet, meanwhile, connected on 17-of-27 free throws in the game to Saint Mary's 9-of-16.
Giavanna Paradiso led all players with 21 points while pulling down nine rebounds. Gabby Diamond added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Erin Maloney posted seven steals, seven assists, seven rebounds, and three points. Delaney Rohlman tallied five points.
The Belles (5-14, 3-8 MIAA) return home to host Illinois Tech on Wednesday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m.