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Belles Prevail Against Bulldogs

Erin Maloney, wearing a white uniform and located in middle of photo, dribbles past an opposing player wearing an all-black uniform as several other players are visible in the background.

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team took a 71-56 conference win over Adrian on Saturday afternoon.

A rough start to the game saw the two sides combine for six turnovers on the first seven possessions of play. Giavanna Paradiso put the Belles on the scoreboard with a layup, and Jade Mosier converted a three-point play off of a fast-break bucket and foul to give the home side a 5-0 advantage 2:03 into play. Bella Dugas gave Saint Mary's a six-point lead a short while later with back-to-back buckets for a 9-3 score, and Caroline Macius hit a reverse layup midway through the quarter for a 13-8 Saint Mary's lead. A three-pointer and a good layup by the Bulldogs knotted the score at 13-13 less than a minute and a half later, but Megan Saunders drained a three-pointer to give the lead back to the Belles at 16-13 with 2:30 still remaining in the quarter. Giavanna Paradiso then had a three-point play and a layup as the Belles built momentum late in the quarter, and Erin Maloney sliced through the defense and hit a strong layup with three seconds remaining in the period to give Saint Mary's a 23-13 advantage at the quarter break.

A three-pointer and a jump shot by the Bulldogs halved the lead, but Maloney hit a three-pointer of her own to maintain a multi-possession lead for the Belles. The teams went back-and-forth with scoring for much of the second quarter before back-to-back three-pointers by Olivia Lathers and Erin Maloney gave Saint Mary's a 39-24 lead with under three minutes left in the quarter. Bella Dugas then gave the Belles their largest lead of the contest with a layup to push the advantage to 17 points. Adrian, however, closed out the quarter with three consecutive buckets to make it a 41-30 score at the half.

Mosier and Paradiso opened the third quarter with a pair of free throws and a layup, respectively. Dugas then hit a jump shot off of a dish from Paradiso to again put the Belles up 17 points at 47-30. Adrian cut the deficit to 13 points a short while later at 50-37, but Saint Mary's continued to find the response on offense as Macius and Dugas posted consecutive buckets for a 54-37 lead late in the quarter. A three-pointer by Adrian made it 54-40, but Carin Kaminski hit a free throw with a minute to go in the period for a 55-40 lead for the home side.

Despite a three-and-a-half minute scoreless drought in the fourth quarter, the Belles were able to keep the Bulldogs largely at bay in the final period. During that scoreless stretch, Adrian edged within nine points at 57-48. After a timeout, Jade Mosier lit up the scoreboard for the Belles with a layup to give Saint Mary's a double-digit lead. Saint Mary's then held Adrian scoreless for a stretch of more than three minutes, and the Belles pulled ahead by 12 at 60-48 with under three minutes remaining. The Bulldogs opted to foul to try to get back into the game late, and Maloney and Mosier each connected on a pair of free throws for a 64-51 lead with 1:06 to play. A layup and a three-pointer by Adrian made it a nine-point game with 40 seconds remaining at 65-56, but Maloney and Mosier iced the game with six consecutive made free throws over the final 35 seconds of play for the 71-56 win.

The Belles matched their season-low total for turnovers in a contest (12) while the Bulldogs committed 23 turnovers in the contest. Saint Mary's outscored Adrian in points in the paint (26-22) and points off of turnovers (20-5) while making 24-of-28 free throws to the Bulldogs' 4-of-6 effort from the charity stripe.

Jade Mosier led all players with a season-high 19 points, which included an 11-of-11 effort from the free throw line. Erin Maloney poured in 14 points, seven steals, four assists, and four rebounds while connecting on all six of her free throw attempts. Giavanna Paradiso posted 11 points and a game-high seven rebounds along with a career-high five assists. Bella Dugas added 11 points as ten different players scored at least one point for the Belles.

Saint Mary's (3-6, 1-2 MIAA) are off from competition for finals week and return to play on Saturday, December 15 when they travel to Alma for a 3:00 p.m. conference contest.