Belles Hang Tough in Setback Against Nationally-Ranked Thunder
- Giavanna Paradiso led all players with 16 points in the game on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor while hitting all four free throw attempts.
- Megan Saunders added a season-high 11 points with nine of those points coming in the final quarter.
- Gabby Diamond posted 10 points and nine rebounds.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team held their own in a 68-51 setback against No. 8 ranked Trine in conference action on Wednesday night.
Giavanna Paradiso put the first two points on the scoreboard, and Gabby Diamond hit a jumper in the paint three minutes later to tie the game at 4-4 with over six minutes remaining in the opening period. Paradiso then added another layup two possessions later to push the Belles ahead 6-4. The two teams continued to trade buckets back and forth as Megan Saunders hit Erin Maloney with a pass for an open layup to make it 8-6 with four minutes still left on the clock. The Belles kept a possession alive with an offensive rebound by Carin Kaminski a short while later. Delaney Rohlman drew a foul on a hard drive in the lane to earn a pair of free throws, and the sophomore hit them both to put the Belles back on top at 10-8. Less than a minute later, Rohlman drew another foul going hard to the hoop, and again, she sunk both free throws to give Saint Mary's a 12-8 lead with under two minutes remaining in the period. Trine put the final three points on the scoreboard in the quarter as the Belles carried a 12-11 lead into the first break.
Bern McGeever opened the second quarter scoring with a three-pointer to again give Saint Mary's a four-point lead at 15-11. A pair of layups and a free throw by Trine over the next minute shifted the lead over to the Thunder, but Erin Maloney snatched a steal, drew a foul, and hit both free throws to edge the Belles back ahead 17-16. Trine responded with a 12-0 run over the next three minutes of play to establish a 28-17 lead. Undeterred, the Belles continued to battle and had a handful of shots just miss the mark until Gabby Diamond drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to cut the deficit to 28-20 with 54 seconds remaining before halftime. Both sides saw their final possessions of the half come up with zero points as the game stood at 28-20 at the break.
The teams went back-and-forth with points throughout much of the third quarter, and Megan Saunders hit a back-door layup off a pass from Rohlman to make it a nine-point game at 36-27 with 4:18 on the clock. After a Trine three-point play, Paradiso added another tough layup through traffic to keep the Belles within striking distance at 39-29. Neither team added another shot from the floor over the final 2:30 of the period, but Trine posted five free throws to the Belles' three - one by Diamond and two by Paradiso - to hold a 44-32 lead through three quarters.
The Thunder added a free throw to open the fourth quarter, but Gabby Diamond got the friendly bounce on another three-pointer to make it a ten-point game at 45-35 with 8:41 to play. Trine put six quick points up, but the Belles continued to battle, this time with Saunders draining a three-pointer to make it 51-38 with plenty of time still remaining. Saunders added her second three in as many attempts to bring the deficit down to 17, and Paradiso hit a layup before Saunders sunk her third three of the period to make it a 61-46 game with 2:24 to play. The Belles, however, were able to put up a pair of free throws by Paradiso and a late three-pointer by Delaney Rohlman as the clock ran out in their upset effort.
Trine shot a blistering 56.8 percent (25-of-44) from the floor on the night while the Belles connected on 37.2 percent (16-of-43) of their shots. Saint Mary's, meanwhile, was more efficient from the charity stripe in a contest which featured 49 combined fouls. The Belles hit 12-of-14 free throws (85.7 percent) while the Thunder converted 17-of-28 attempts (60.7 percent).
Giavanna Paradiso led all players with 16 points in the game on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor while hitting all four free throw attempts. Megan Saunders added a season-high 11 points with nine of those points coming in the final quarter. Gabby Diamond posted 10 points and nine rebounds. Delaney Rohlman chipped in seven points for the Belles.
The Belles (6-16, 3-10 MIAA) travel to No. 6 ranked Hope on Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. contest against the Flying Dutch.