2016 Season Recap
- Ten games decided by a dozen or fewer points.
- Several individuals set new single-game career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.
- Krista Knapke was named to the All-MIAA Second Team.
While making the transition to quarters and many other NCAA women’s basketball rule changes, the Saint Mary’s basketball team handled any challenges thrown their way in stride during the 2015-16 season.
With a roster no larger than ten at any given moment during the season, but Belles were resilient, scrappy, and determined from the start of the season to its end. Ten of the team’s games were decided by a dozen or fewer points, and sixteen games were within 12 points or less at the halftime break this past winter. Many of the Belles’ tightest games came on their home court – including a two-point loss against Anderson and a three-point setback against Olivet.
Just before finals week, the Belles’ grit and determination was rewarded with a 68-56 win at home against Alma. The visiting Scots pulled within five points twice late in the game, but key plays down the stretch on both ends of the court – including a stingy defense which held Alma to 0-of-5 shooting from the floor over the final four minutes of play – carried the Belles to the conference win at Angela Athletic Facility.
In February, a historic event for the Belles basketball program took place in the team’s home game against in-state MIAA rival Trine. For the first time in program history, two teammates scored their 1,000th career point in the same game as seniors Krista Knapke and Eleni Shea both hit the 1,000 career point plateau within two minutes of each other in the fourth quarter.
As a team, Saint Mary’s shot over 40 percent from the floor in seven games, and the Belles had equal or fewer turnovers than their opponents 11 times during the season. Individually, several members of the squad had new levels of success in multiple statistical categories. Six Belles set new single-game career highs in points; five players had single-game high marks in rebounds; seven hit a new single-game assist plateau; and three members of the team set single-game career highs in steals during 2015-16.
Krista Knapke was recognized for her efforts by the coaches across the conference by being selected to the All-MIAA Second Team. She became the 16th player in Saint Mary's basketball history to earn All-MIAA distinctions. It was also the 15th consecutive season at least one member of the Belles basketball team has been named to either the All-MIAA First or Second Team. Additionally, a handful of other team awards were handed out at the end of season banquet in March. Knapke was named team most valuable player. Kelsey Ronan picked up the Most Improved Award while Erin Maloney was tabbed Rookie of the Year. Aspen Davis was selected as the team’s Belle Award recipient for 2015-16.
Away from the court, the team continued to support causes near and dear to their hearts. In February, the Belles raised nearly $500 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. In March, the team spearheaded efforts to raise money for their Team IMPACT teammate Bryanna Sikora and brought in nearly $500 to help offset some of the costs of her medical needs.