Belles Battle Past Comets
- Gabby Diamond led all players with a career-high 29 points while picking up her fifth double-double of the season with 12 rebounds.
- Giavanna added a double-double of her own with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
- Megan Saunders scored 10 points, and Erin Maloney dished out a career-high nine assists.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Gabby Diamond scored a career-high 29 points while pulling down 12 rebounds, Giavanna Paradiso added 13 points and 12 rebounds, and the Saint Mary's basketball team brought in the new year with a 67-57 win over Olivet on Wednesday night.
Saint Mary's had some difficulty getting the offense started against Olivet as the Belles were unable to connect on any of their first ten shots from the floor. Defensively, however, Saint Mary's kept themselves in the game and trailed just 8-3 with four minutes remaining in the opening quarter. After a big block and rebound by Bern McGeever on the defensive end, Megan Saunders sliced through the Comets' defense at the other end of the floor and hit a left-handed layup to make it an 8-5 game with 3:48 on the clock. The two sides hit a scoreless patch of play over the next 2:19 until Olivet hit a pair of free throws to claim a 10-5 lead with 1:29 remaining in the quarter. Saint Mary's went on a tear over the final 1:10 of the stanza as Paradiso made two free throws and added a layup before Caroline Macius hit a layup in the final ten seconds of the quarter to give the Belles an 11-10 edge at the first break.
Macius opened up the second quarter with her second bucket in as many attempts, but Olivet tied the score at 13-13 with a good three-pointer on their first possession of the period. Saint Mary's responded with a big 13-0 run while scoring on seven of eight possessions during the next four minutes of action. Olivia Lathers started off the run with a free throw, and Gabby Diamond hit a hot shooting streak with five consecutive buckets on five shots to give the Belles a 26-13 lead. The Comets slowed the Belles' scoring with a jump shot, but Diamond again delivered with another jump shot for a 28-15 Saint Mary's lead with 4:44 remaining before halftime. The senior added a free throw almost a minute later to make it a 29-15 score with 3:55 still on the clock. Olivet had a three-point play and a free throw over the next 1:50 of play to make it a 29-19 game, and both sides were unable to generate any additional offense over the final two minutes of the quarter as the Belles held a ten-point lead at the halftime break.
Olivet opened the third quarter with a layup on the first possession of play, but Saint Mary's came back with three consecutive buckets by Diamond, Paradiso, and Lathers to gain a 35-21 lead. The two sides traded buckets back and forth as the tempo kicked up a level with the teams pushing the ball quickly ahead at both ends. The tail end of that stretch of fast-paced action saw Megan Saunders hit a tough layup with 4:04 left on the clock to give Saint Mary's a 43-30 edge. The Comets cut the Belles' lead down to eight with an 8-3 spurt over the next three minutes. Gabby Crown put a stop to that run as she nailed a jump shot on the left wing, and Diamond added a pair of jump shots in the lane late to give Saint Mary's a 52-38 lead going into the final quarter.
The Comets put the first three points on the scoreboard in the fourth period, but the Belles continued to have an answer for visiting Olivet. Paradiso hit a jump shot, Diamond added another layup, and Paradiso cleaned up the offensive glass to push Saint Mary's ahead 58-42 with 6:25 on the clock. A reverse layup by Saunders, another Diamond layup, and a three-pointer by Erin Maloney all but sealed the deal for the Belles as Saint Mary's made it a 65-47 game with just over four minutes remaining in the contest. The Comets put together a push late in the game, but it was too little, too late as the Belles claimed the 67-57 win.
The Belles out-rebounded the Comets 54-44 and added a 20-12 scoring margin on points off of turnovers. The home side controlled the paint as the Belles posted 38 points in the lane to the Comets' 22. Saint Mary's made 40.6 percent of their shots from the floor while Olivet posted a 28.6 percent shooting effort in the game. Five Belles made at least half of the shots they attempted in the contest.
Gabby Diamond led all players with a career-high 29 points while picking up her fifth double-double of the season with 12 rebounds. Diamond also tallied three assists and three steals for the Belles and was 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) from the floor on the night. Giavanna Paradiso added a double-double of her own with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Megan Saunders scored 10 points in the win. Erin Maloney dished out a career-high nine assists while chipping in five rebounds.
The Belles (4-9, 2-3 MIAA) have a bye in their conference schedule this weekend and return to the hardwood on Wednesday, January 10 when they travel to Kalamazoo.