NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team fought their way back from multiple double-digit deficits and were within six points in the fourth quarter, but the Belles were unable to take down visiting Calvin in a 62-54 final on Saturday evening.
With the score tied 4-4 more than two minutes into the game, Calvin used back-to-back baskets for a 9-4 lead. Jade Mosier drained a three-pointer on the next Saint Mary's possession, but the Knights extended their advantage to nine points at 16-7 with a quick scoring spurt. Kelsie Bies went end-to-end less than a minute later, and Bella Dugas put the Belles right back in business with a layup of her own to cut the deficit to 16-11 with 1:30 remaining in the quarter. Calvin, however, hit a pair of layups over the final stretch of the quarter to take a 20-11 lead at the first break.
The Knights opened the second period with a three-pointer for a 23-11 advantage, but the Belles continued to chip away at Calvin to keep within striking distance. Bies hit a three-pointer of her own, and Dugas sunk a pair of free throws to make it a 23-16 game. Mosier later added a jumper, and Megan Saunders had a good put-back bucket off of an offensive rebound as the score stood at 27-20. The Knights then went on a 14-5 scoring run over the final five-plus minutes of the quarter to take a then-game-high 16-point lead into the halftime break.
Giavanna Paradiso opened the scoring in the third quarter with an offensive rebound and put-back layup almost a minute into play. Bella Dugas powered in a layup of her own, and Paradiso added another second-chance bucket on the next Saint Mary's possession to make it 41-31. The Belles continued their run after a Calvin timeout as Jade Mosier hit a jump shot before Sophie Koeppl drained a three-pointer to make it a 41-36 score midway through the quarter. Calvin halted their scoreless stretch with a three-pointer, but Mosier had the offensive board and put-back to make it a six-point game. The Knights recorded the next four buckets of the period to regain a 16-point advantage at 54-38, but Bella Dugas gave the Belles some momentum with a layup in the final second of the quarter to make it a 54-40 game heading into the final stanza.
The Knights pushed their lead to 16 again with a jump shot 1:09 into the quarter, but the Belles battled right back into the thick of things. Erin Maloney hit a free throw, Jade Mosier added a jump shot, and Sophie Koeppl hit a three to cut the deficit to ten. Calvin got a bucket back, but the Belles continued on their fourth-quarter tear. Bella Dugas made a highlight-reel catch and layup while being fouled, and the freshman completed the three-point play to cut Calvin's lead to 58-49 with more than four minutes still to play. With both teams in the bonus, the sides traded free throws before Dugas hit back-to-back attempts at the charity stripe with just under two minutes remaining on the clock. After a Calvin turnover, Paradiso hit a tough layup to make it a six-point game at 60-54 with 1:24 to play. The Knights hit a pair of free throws two possessions later to take a 62-54 lead with 44 seconds on the clock, but the Belles were unable to find a late basket as Calvin held on for that same 62-54 final score.
The Belles out-rebounded the Knights by a 35-31 margin, and Saint Mary's capitalized on 23 Calvin giveaways to out-score the visitors 29-11 in points off of turnovers. The Knights held a narrow 24-22 scoring margin edge in points in the paint.
Bella Dugas scored nine of her 15 points in the second half of play to help pace Saint Mary's while Jade Mosier notched her first double-double with the Belles by scoring 15 points and pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds. Kelsie Bies added eight points, and Erin Maloney tallied game-highs of seven assists and four steals.
The Belles (2-5, 0-1) travel to Albion on Wednesday, December 5 for a 7:30 p.m. conference contest against the Brits.