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Tough Shooting Start Holds Belles Back Against Titans

Megan Saunders, wearing a white uniform, dribbles the basketball up the court.

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team had a tough time getting the offense to click while visiting IU-South Bend connected on 67.9 percent of their shots over the first half of play in a 74-48 final on Monday afternoon.

Giavanna Paradiso and Caroline Macius each hit a pair of free throws to make it a 6-4 score in favor of visiting IU-South Bend, but the Belles were unable to get a shot from the floor to fall until the 3:24 mark when Bella Dugas drained a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 11-7. The Titans countered with a three-pointer of their own to start a 10- run over the next three minutes of play for a 21-7 advantage. Jade Mosier put the Belles back on the scoreboard with two free throws late in the period. IU-South Bend, however, pushed the ball up the court quickly and scored a layup in the final seconds for a 23-9 lead through one quarter of play.

Back-to-back three-pointers by the Titans to open the second period quickly pushed the score to 29-9. Megan Saunders responded with a three-pointer of her own to give Saint Mary's some life. A short while later with the score at 31-13, Giavanna Paradiso converted the three-point play with a layup and a free throw to make it a 31-17 game with more than six minutes remaining before halftime. Paradiso added a good jump shot two possessions later for a 34-19 score. The Titans, however, could hardly miss - particularly from behind the arc. A layup by IU-South Bend was followed by back-to-back three-pointers as the Titans went on a 17-0 run to close out the quarter for a 51-19 advantage at the break.

A pair of buckets by Paradiso to open the third quarter made it a 51-23 score, but the Belles were unable edge any closer to the Titans in the period. Saint Mary's was able to get the offense to click in the final ten minutes of play as the Belles connected on 50.0 percent of their shots from the floor and 50.0 percent of their three-point attempts in the fourth quarter. Defensively, the home side held IU-South Bend to their lowest shooting percentage (33.3 percent), three-point shooting percentage (20.0 percent), and point total (9) of any quarter of the contest, but the deficit was too large for the Belles to overcome in the 74-48 final.

Giavanna Paradiso led the Belles with 20 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Megan Saunders added 12 points and a career-high six rebounds. Bella Dugas chipped in nine points and four rebounds with a team-best three steals.

The Belles (4-7) are back in action on Wednesday when they host North Park University at 3:00 p.m.