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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
The Observer

Belles start season with disappointment in loss to Hanover

The Saint Mary's basketball season did not start out exactly as the Belles had hoped, as the team lost both of its games in this weekend's Tip-Off Classic held at the Angela Athletic Center.

On Friday night, the Belles fell to Hanover College 63-38. Saint Mary's struggled to get anything going offensively, scoring only 19 points in each half. The team shot an anemic 21 percent from the floor in the game.

"We just had a rough first game," Belles' point guard Bridget Lipke said. "Our shots were off. We had a lot of turnovers, and I think we just panicked."

Saint Mary's had no answer for Hanover's star forward Laura Little. Little scored 17 first half points to give Hanover a 31-19 lead at intermission. The Belles were unable to gain any ground in the second half.

Center Maureen Bush led Saint Mary's with nine points, and forward Emily Creachbaum contributed seven points and sveen rebounds.

The Belles played much better in Saturday's contest against Franklin College, despite failing to pick up the victory, losing 66-57.

Saint Mary's jumped out to an early 12-6 lead, but experienced an offensive lull late in the first half, and Franklin led by a score of 38-29 at halftime.

The Belles refused to stop fighting, however.

Saint Mary's opened the second half with a 10-3 run, closing the gap to two points. The team stayed relatively even with Franklin for the remainder of the game. With 2:30 left, Bush hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to cut the Franklin lead to 55-53.

In the final two minutes, however, Franklin connected on 9-of-10 free throws, and Saint Mary's failed to come up with the big shots to make a final run.

Junior guard Bridget Boyce led the Belles with 22 points. She hit several key shots during Saint Mary's comeback attempt.

Freshman Allison Kessler also played a vital role in the Belles' second half run. Kessler brought energy off the bench and contributed eight points in the second period.

"She really lit a spark and came out and played awesome," Lipke said.

Lipke had 10 assists, and Creachbaum pulled down 10 rebounds for Saint Mary's in the losing effort.

While disappointed with the outcome, the Belles were pleased with their performance on Saturday. The team showed excellent character by battling back in the second half and refusing to give up. Lipke attributes this toughness to the makeup of this year's team.

"We were down, but came back," Lipke said. "I think that was because of the chemistry and the girls on the team. Chemistry is going to be a key for us for the rest of the season."

The Belles hope this chemistry will translate into success on the court in the future. Saint Mary's will look for its first win Tuesday night when it takes on Manchester College at the Angela Athletic Center.