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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

Belles fall to Hope 121-51 in conference play

After they opened the new year 2-1, the Saint Mary’s basketball team fell 121-51 to No. 8/9 Hope on Wednesday evening. The Belles took down Olivet a week earlier but couldn’t find the same rhythm against the reigning Division III champions. 

The Belles were able to keep the Flying Dutch lead within two scores early in the first quarter. Threes from junior guard Elle Deardorff and a shot from senior guard Maddie Rzepka brought the Belles within eight points. The Flying Dutch woke up quickly, though, and kept them there. It would be sophomore guard Jasmine Townsend who scored the next four points for the Belles as the quarter ended, bringing them back into the game. Townsend ultimately led the Belles in scoring with 10 points. But the Flying Dutch lit up even more, shooting 73.7% from the floor in the first quarter alone. 

In the second and third quarters, the Flying Dutch held the Belles to single-digit scoring. The Belles scored six points in the second behind Townsend, junior forward Athena Samson and sophomore guard Lauren Gumma. In the third, Townsend and Samson started the scoring for Saint Mary’s as the clock ticked under six minutes remaining. Junior forward Mary Kate Gareau would score late in the quarter as well, but the Belles saw no scoring runs in the third, scoring seven points total in the period. As the two teams entered the fourth, Hope had built a 94-25 lead. 

The Belles weren’t done yet, though. The fourth quarter looked like a different game as both teams traded points throughout. Saint Mary’s more than doubled their score, earning 26 points to the Flying Dutch’s 27. The scoring featured all the same names but added freshmen guard Alyssa Matuza, guard Nicole Connolly and senior guard Christina Shadid.  

Still, Hope’s early success gave them more than enough to pull through in the end. Behind 63.6% shooting from the field and 54.5% from beyond the arc, the Flying Dutch put up 121 points. Saint Mary’s created opportunities but could not match that productivity. They connected on only 29.5% of their field goals — eight points short of their average 37.4%. 

Although the Belles didn’t come away with a win in Holland, Mich., Saint Mary’s will return home to face Calvin in another conference matchup on Saturday, Jan. 21. The Belles will tip off at 3 p.m. and the day will feature an Alumnae game at 11 a.m.

Contact Mannion McGinley at