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Belles Fend Off Knights for Win

Jade Mosier, wearing a navy blue uniform with a white headband, dribbles the ball past a defending player in a grey uniform.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team posted their best shooting percentage of the season (53.6 percent) while fighting off the host Knights in a 76-69 win at Calvin on Saturday afternoon.
The Belles opened the game on a tear as Saint Mary's rattled off the first eight points of the contest. Bella Dugas converted a traditional three-point play with the bucket and the and-one free throw after pulling down an offensive rebound. Jade Mosier then hit a bucket in the lane before draining a three-pointer for the 8-0 lead. The Knights got on the scoreboard 2:29 into play, but Giavanna Paradiso and Bella Dugas each tallied a layup to extend the advantage to 12-2 less than four minutes into the action. Back-to-back buckets by Calvin made it a five-point game a short while later. Saint Mary's swayed the momentum back in their favor with a layup by Paradiso followed by a layup by Mosier for a 16-7 lead. The Belles held on to a 10-point advantage with 1:30 remaining in the quarter with a 22-12 advantage, but Calvin closed out the quarter with a 6-2 spurt to make it 24-18 at the first break as both sides shot better than 50 percent from the floor.
Jade Mosier opened the second period with a jump shot to get the Belles on the scoreboard early. Carin Kaminski sunk a three-pointer after swiping a steal, Megan Saunders hit a three-pointer of her own, and Mosier drained a three as the Belles mounted a 35-20 lead early in the second stanza. Neither team had much luck generating offense over the next four minutes of play, but the Knights took advantage of that stretch to chip the Saint Mary's lead down to 35-28 with 3:43 on the clock. Caroline Macius made a shot on the next possession for a nine-point lead. Calvin, however, had a 9-5 scoring edge over the final 3:17 of play - including a jump shot at the buzzer - to make it a 42-39 Saint Mary's lead at the halftime break.
The two sides played a tight back-and-forth third quarter as the Belles had their toughest shooting period of the contest. Calvin edged within a single possession of the Saint Mary's lead a handful of times in the quarter before using a second-chance shot at the buzzer to take a 55-54 lead through 30 minutes of play.
Undeterred, the Belles came right back at the Knights in the fourth quarter. Giavanna Paradiso had an early free throw followed by a layup less than a minute later to give Saint Mary's the lead at 57-55. A Calvin layup knotted the game on the next possession, but Bella Dugas hit a shot on a possession where the Belles pulled down two big offensive rebounds. Mosier then drilled another three-pointer for a 62-57 Saint Mary's lead 3:35 into the quarter. The Knights responded with a jump shot, but it was Sophie Koeppl's turn to knock down a shot from behind the arc for a six-point lead at the 5:42 mark. Calvin had another layup, but then the Belles countered with another three-pointer - this time by Mosier - for a 68-61 lead. Pushing the ball into the post, the home side added yet another shot in the paint. This time, Paradiso hit the shot at the other end and added a layup after an Erin Maloney steal to give the Belles a 72-63 lead with 3:34 remaining. Back-to-back buckets, including a three-pointer, by the Knights made it a 72-68 game with 2:00 to play. A minute later, Giavanna Paradiso hit a clutch layup to extend the advantage to 74-68. The Knights hit the front end of a trip the charity stripe with 39 seconds on the clock, but Calvin was unable to pull any close as Sophie Koeppl tallied a free throw with 18 seconds and another with two seconds as the Belles prevailed 76-69.
Saint Mary's held a 36-29 advantage over Calvin in rebounds and collected 10 steals to the Knights' six. The Belles were also +10 (15-5) in second-chance points and out-scored the Knights 32-28 in the paint. It is the first win for Saint Mary's at Calvin's Van Noord Arena since a 72-68 overtime win on January 28, 2009.
Jade Mosier posted a season-high and game-best 31 points after connecting on 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) three-pointers and 13-of-20 (65.0 percent) of her shots from the floor. The junior added six assists and a game-high 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the year. Giavanna Paradiso scored 15 points while tallying five assists and seven rebounds. Bella Dugas chipped in eight points and six rebounds. Erin Maloney loaded up the stat sheet with seven points, eight assists, six steals, and three rebounds.
The Belles (8-10, 5-4 MIAA) are on the road on Wednesday, January 23 when they travel to Adrian for a 7:30 p.m. conference game against the Bulldogs.