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Fourth Quarter Drought Halts Belles Against Bulldogs

Erin Maloney, wearing a white uniform, dribbles the basketball past a defending player in a black uniform as two other players are visible in the background.
ADRIAN, Mich. - A scoreless drought of 5:30 to open the fourth quarter was too much to overcome as the Saint Mary's basketball team fell in a 60-51 final at Adrian on Wednesday evening.
The host Bulldogs opened the game with an 8-2 scoring spurt through the first 2:48 of action with Bella Dugas notching a pair of free throws on the Belles' second possession of the game. Both sides had a scoreless stretch of a minute before Jade Mosier drained a three-pointer to bolster the Saint Mary's offense. After an Adrian layup, Erin Maloney then sunk a three of her own to make it a 10-8 game. The Bulldogs countered with a layup at the other end before Sophie Koeppl made it three three-pointers in-a-row for the Belles to edge Saint Mary's within a point at 12-11 with 4:38 on the clock. Another scoreless drought by both sides over the next two-plus minutes of action was broken up by a fastbreak layup by the Bulldogs with just over two minutes remaining in the period. Jade Mosier added a layup on the next possession, and Megan Saunders hit a jump shot to give the Belles their first lead of the contest on the next possession. Erin Maloney closed out the quarter with a good jumper of her own, and the Bulldogs missed a last-second shot as Saint Mary's carried a 17-14 lead into the first break.
Neither side was able to get a shot to fall over the opening 2:30 of the second quarter. After Erin Maloney pulled down a defensive rebound, Giavanna Paradiso got on the scoreboard with a jump shot for a 19-14 advantage. The Bulldogs hit a three-pointer on an extended possession, but Paradiso and Maloney hit back-to-back layups to put the Belles ahead 23-17 with 6:04 on the clock. Four consecutive points by Adrian over the next minute of play to make it a 23-21 game, but Mosier kept the Belles on top with a layup on the next possession. The Bulldogs countered with their own layup and added a three-pointer and a layup to regain the lead at 28-25 with under three minutes left on the clock. Bella Dugas sunk a jump shot, but Adrian had a layup and a jumper to regain a five-point edge at 32-27 with 1:14 on the clock. Giavanna Paradiso, however, gave the Belles some momentum going into the break with a good jump shot on the final possession of the quarter for Saint Mary's to make it 32-29 at the half.
The Bulldogs posted five points in the opening 2:44 of the third period to gain a 37-29 lead, but Jade Mosier converted a three-point play to keep Saint Mary's close. After a layup by Adrian, the Belles got a good jump shot by Sophie Koeppl and a made shot in the lane by Giavanna Paradiso to pull within 39-36 with five minutes on the clock. The Bulldogs hit a three-pointer on their next possession, but both teams hit another scoreless slump over the next 2:50 of play. Mosier broke up that scoreless stretch with a free throw and a three-point play to get the Belles right into the mix at 42-40. Paradiso then capped off the scoring in quarter with a layup after a leading pass into the paint by Mosier as the Belles headed into the final stanza tied up with the Bulldogs at 42-42.
The Belles could not get a bounce off the rim to go their way throughout much of the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs opened the period with an 8-0 run over a span of 5:03. Jade Mosier hit the front end of a trip to the charity stripe to get Saint Mary's on the scoreboard, and Sophie Koeppl sunk another three-pointer to put the Belles back in business at 50-46 with 3:38 remaining. Adrian hit a three-pointer of their own on the other end during the next possession, but Erin Maloney fought her way through the lane and sent home a layup to make it a 53-48 game with under three minutes to play. After a blocked shot at each end, Carin Kaminski hit a free throw with 1:58 on the clock to make it a four-point game at 53-49, but three free throws by the Bulldogs extended the Adrian lead to 56-49 with under a minute left in the period. Erin Maloney made a free throw on the next possession, but the Belles were unable to get a shot from the floor to fall in either of their next two possessions. The Bulldogs connected on four free throws in the final 45 seconds to extend their lead to 60-50. A late free throw by Mosier made it a nine-point difference, but the time ran out for the Belles in the 60-51 final.
The Belles matched their lowest turnover total of the season (12) and out-scored the Bulldogs 18-12 on points off of turnovers as Adrian had 17 giveaways. The Bulldogs edged out Saint Mary's in rebounds (36-29), points in the paint (20-14), and second-chance points (7-0) on the night.
Jade Mosier led the Belles with 16 points on the night. Erin Maloney added 10 points and team-highs of seven rebounds and five steals. Giavanna Paradiso posted 10 points and five rebounds, and Sophie Koeppl tallied eight points.
The Belles (8-11, 5-5 MIAA) return home to host Olivet on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.