2017 Season Recap
- The Belles hit more three pointers in the 2016-17 than in the previous eight seasons.
- Several individuals set new single-game career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.
- The team showed marked improvement throughout the season.
Perseverance was on full display for the Saint Mary’s basketball team during the 2016-17 season. A never-say-die attitude from beginning to end of the season yielded a pair of wins, but the continued progress and growth of the program under first year head coach Melissa Makielski will undoubtedly yield dividends in the form of success in the future for the Belles.
Early in the season, Erin Maloney and Gabby Diamond kicked off breakout seasons by hitting all four of their free throw attempts late to secure a 64-62 win over Manchester. A tough stretch saw the Belles come up just short in narrow losses to Anderson, Kalamazoo, and Olivet as the season moved onward.
When the second round of MIAA play began, the Belles played to closer margins against seven of the eight conference foes. Among those contests were a pair of 11-point setbacks at home against Adrian and Olivet as well as a 12-point loss at Alma as each of those three competitions were decided in tense fourth quarters. The best outcome of the second half of MIAA competition, however, came in a 62-47 home win over Kalamazoo in early February.
Despite the end results of many of the team’s contests, the Belles had a strong season statistically. The team hit more free throws (91) than in the previous eight seasons and matched the 91 made three-pointers of the 2006-07 season. Additionally, it was just the ninth time in program history that a basketball squad has tallied over 90 made three-point shots in a year. Offensively, the team epitomized teamwork through the fact that 58.8 percent of the field goals made in 2016-17 came on an assist from a teammate. On the defensive end of the court, the Belles blocked 64 shots – the most since the 2008-09 campaign and fifth-most all-time.
Several individual student-athletes posted new career-highs in both individual games and total season statistical categories. Aspen Davis, Kelsey Ronan, Gabby Diamond, and Erin Maloney each tallied new single-game highs for points while Davis, Diamond, and Maloney notched new highs for single-season points. Each of the four had new season bests in total steals and assists, and Ronan, Diamond, and Maloney had the most rebounds in a single season to-date of their respective careers.
Newcomers made their impact known as well for the basketball team this season. Ally Steve hit more three pointers than any other freshman in the basketball program's history. Steve finished the year as the team’s second-leading scorer with 213 points. Megan Will posted over 100 points on the year despite missing four games and was the fifth-highest scorer for the Belles in her first season. Delaney Rohlman and Olivia Lathers, meanwhile, were two of four student-athletes to compete in each of the team’s 25 games of the year while making contributions on both ends of the court as freshmen.
Away from the court, the team continued to support causes near and dear to their hearts. The team continued to build their relationship with Team IMPACT teammate Bryanna Sikora by volunteering time with Hannah & Friends. In February, the Belles raised funds for the Angel Wings Fund. Angel Wings was founded by former Alma College Women’s Basketball coach Keisha Brown after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and is named after her own daughter. Angel Wings was created to provide support to children who have lost a parent to cancer.