Posted: Feb 16, 2019
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Despite posting almost the exact field goal percentage (42.3 percent) as visiting Albion (42.4 percent), the Saint Mary's basketball team fell in their final home game of the season by a 71-58 score on Saturday.
Albion posted the first three buckets of the game to establish a 6-0 lead 2:38 into play, but Giavanna Paradiso battled her way to back-to-back layups to put the Belles within two points less than a minute later. The Brits countered with a three-pointer and a pair of free throws to nab an 11-4 advantage with 5:41 still to play in the opening period. Paradiso pulled down an offensive board and hit the put-back to kick off a run for the Belles. Kelsie Bies drained a three-pointer two possessions later, and Bella Dugas added a there-pointer of her own a short while later to give Saint Mary's a 12-11 lead with 3:18 on the clock. Albion, however, ended the quarter with six unanswered points to take a 17-12 lead into the first break.
Erin Maloney opened the second quarter with a three-pointer at the top of the key, and Olivia Lathers hit a trey on the next possession to give the lead back to the Belles at 18-17. After a free throw by the Brits knotted the game up, Maloney threaded a pass to Paradiso for a layup to make it a 20-18 Saint Mary's lead. Albion responded with a good bucket of their own, but Lathers dialed in another three-pointer to put the Belles ahead 23-20 with 6:11 on the clock. Albion hit the front end of a trip to the free throw line, but then neither team was able to get a shot to fall over the next two minutes of play as Saint Mary's held a 23-21 advantage. A three-point play by Albion, however, followed by a steal and a layup by the Brits put the visiting side up 25-23 with 3:35 still to play before the half. Saint Mary's was quick with a pair of counter-attacks as Erin Maloney fed passes to wide-open Carin Kaminski and Bella Dugas on back-to-back possessions to break the Albion press as the Brits called a timeout while clinging to a 28-27 lead. After an Albion layup off of a put-back effort, Erin Maloney called her own number on offense and sunk another three-pointer to tie the game at 30-30. Albion used a pair of free throws and a second-chance bucket to gain a 34-30 lead, but Maloney hit a mid-range jump shot late in the quarter to make it a 34-32 score at the halftime break.
Caroline Macius kept a possession alive for Saint Mary's early in the third quarter, and Sophie Koeppl connected on a shot from behind the arc as the Belles regained the lead at 35-34. Seven quick points by Albion, however, gave the lead back to the Brits at 41-35. Paradiso halved the deficit with a three-pointer in the corner after a series of strong passes by the Belles. A 9-0 run by the Brits swayed the momentum back in favor of the visitors as Albion built a 50-38 lead with 3:08 on the clock in the period. Paradiso hit two free throws on the next Saint Mary's possession, but an extended chance by Albion yielded a layup. Almost a minute later, the Belles got right back into the mix with a three-pointer by Caroline Macius to ignite the crowd and the bench. The Brits used a layup to gain another double-digit lead, but the Belles had the final bucket of the period with a Paradiso layup to make it 54-45 going into the final stanza.
The Belles carried that momentum over into the fourth quarter as Paradiso hit another layup and Macius drained a big three-pointer to make it a 54-50 gave less than a minute into the period. Neither side had much offense over the next three-plus minutes, but the offense that did break through was that of Albion as a three-point play and a jumper saw the Brits holding on to a 59-50 lead as the clock ticked below six minutes. Another Albion basket pushed the advantage to 61-50, but Caroline Macius had the answer yet again with a mid-range jumper to make it a nine-point game. Back-to-back buckets by the Brits extended the visitors' lead to 66-52 with 4:33 remaining. Macius breathed life back into the home side once more with another three-pointer to make it an 11-point game with more than four minutes left on the clock. A free throw by Bella Dugas a short while later made it a 66-56 game, but Albion put the next five points on the scoreboard over the next three minutes of play to gain a 71-56 advantage with 14 seconds to play. Dugas sunk a shot with a few seconds to play as the Belles came up shy in the 71-58 final.
Albion took full advantage of the Saint Mary's turnovers in the contest as the Brits out-scored the Belles 26-2 in points off of turnovers. A 40-31 advantage in rebounds by the visitors, which included a +9 margin in offensive rebounds, led to 19 points for Albion on second-chance opportunities while the Belles scored six second-chance points in the contest. Saint Mary's matched their highest number of made three-pointers in a game this season with 11 while Albion connected on three shots from behind the arc.
Giavanna Paradiso led Saint Mary's with 17 points and six rebounds. Caroline Macius matched her career-high point total with 11 after posting a 50.0 percent effort from the floor and a 75.0 percent (3-of-4) clip from behind the arc while adding five rebounds and two steals. Erin Maloney tallied eight points, seven assists, four rebounds, and a steal. Bella Dugas chipped in eight points for Saint Mary's.
The Belles (10-15, 7-9 MIAA) clinched a spot in the top-six MIAA Tournament as they tied for fifth in the final league standings. Saint Mary's will travel to Albion on Tuesday, February 19 to square off against the Britons starting at 7:00 p.m.