Belles Fall to No. 8 Flying Dutch

Five Saint Mary's basketball players wearing white uniforms huddle together with their hands together prior to the start of the game.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A scoreless drought in the first and second quarters by the Belles provided the visiting Flying Dutch with the runs they needed to build an insurmountable lead as the Saint Mary's basketball team fell in a 73-37 conference contest to tied-No. 8 (WBCA III Top 25 Coaches' Poll) Hope on Saturday.
The Belles came out swinging against the Flying Dutch as Sophie Koeppl hit Erin Maloney on the weak side for a banked-in layup on the first possession of the game for Saint Mary's. The defense forced Hope into a turnover on their next possession, Giavanna Paradiso pulled down a big rebound a few minutes later, and Erin Maloney came up with the steal to keep the Flying Dutch off of the scoreboard through the first stretch of play. Hope used a turnover by the Belles to score in transition, but Jade Mosier hit a free throw to make it 3-2 more than two minutes into the period. Another transition bucket by Hope saw the lead change hands almost a minute later. Jade Mosier then grabbed an offensive rebound and hit Paradiso on the opposite block for an easy layup as Saint Mary's gained a 5-4 lead with 6:24 on the clock. Three consecutive layups by Hope, however, jump-started a 12-0 run as the Flying Dutch built a 16-5 lead over the next 5:24 of play. Giavanna Paradiso put the Belles back in the scoring column with a layup as the first quarter ended with Hope holding a 16-7 lead.
Saint Mary's opened the second period much the way they did in the first quarter as they dueled back-and-forth with Hope. Paradiso hit a pair of free throws before hitting Bella Dugas on a back-door cut for the layup as the Belles edged within seven points at 18-11. On the next Saint Mary's possession, Erin Maloney connected on a strong mid-range jump shot to again make it a seven-point game at 20-13 with 7:20 on the clock. A second scoreless drought, however, led to a 14-0 run by Hope over the next 6:23 of play as the Flying Dutch built a 37-13 lead. Erin Maloney found Paradiso in the paint for a layup on the ensuing Saint Mary's possession, but Hope hit a three-pointer from the corner just before the buzzer to take a 40-15 lead into the halftime break.
Carin Kaminski opened the third quarter with a three-pointer as the Belles continued to battle, and Paradiso hit another layup to make it a 42-20 game a minute and a half into play. Another Hope run - a 13-0 spurt over a four-minute span - distanced the Flying Dutch too much at 55-20 with under five minutes on the clock. Caroline Macius drew a foul while driving to the hoop and converted both free throws, and Paradiso hit back-to-back layups as the score moved to 55-26 with 1:23 to play in the quarter. Hope, however, closed out the quarter with a layup and a pair of free throws for a 59-26 advantage going into the fourth period.
The Belles held the Flying Dutch to their lowest scoring quarter over the final ten minutes of play as Hope held a narrow 14-11 scoring margin over Saint Mary's during the fourth stanza. Playing hard until the final whistle, the Belles had a late surge in the quarter. Sophie Koeppl kicked that spurt off with a deep three-pointer, and Caroline Macius connected on a free throw less than a minute later. Delaney Rohlman then stole a pass in front of the Hope bench and went end-to-end by making the layup with under two minutes remaining in the contest. A free throw and a three-pointer by Hope closed out the scoring and the game by the 73-37 final score.
Giavanna Paradiso paced all players with 18 points while also collecting three steals and five rebounds. Erin Maloney added four points and two steals. Bella Dugas pulled down a game-best seven rebounds. Sophie Koeppl, Carin Kaminski, Delaney Rohlman, and Caroline Macius each chipped in three points.
The Belles (10-13, 7-7 MIAA) have their second of three consecutive home contests on Wednesday when they host Alma for a 7:30 p.m. conference game.