Second-Half Shooting Powers Belles Past Hornets

Giavanna Paradiso, pictured center with a navy blue uniform and holding the basketball, looks to move past a defending player in a white uniform.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team shot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) from the floor over the second half of play to take a 68-50 win at Kalamazoo on Saturday.
The Belles gained a 7-2 lead through the first 3:39 of play against the Hornets. Bella Dugas sunk each of the first two shots she took from the floor for a 4-2 edge, and Sophie Koeppl connected from behind the arc for the 7-2 advantage. Kalamazoo countered with a three-pointer of their own a minute later, but Jade Mosier had the response bucket at the other end with a three-pointer in front of the Hornets' bench to a 10-5 lead with five minutes still remaining in the period. Both sides had a scoring drought of nearly three minutes until Kalamazoo hit a quick shot in transition to pull within three. Saint Mary's was unable to break back into the scoring column until the final minute of the quarter when Giavanna Paradiso battled her way to a layup. The Hornets hit a three on the other end of the court, but Mosier again had the big response bucket with a three-pointer of her own to give the Belles a 15-10 lead through the first period.
Paradiso opened the second stanza with a pair of free throws, but the Hornets built some quick momentum with a jumper and a three-pointer to edge within 17-15 two minutes into the quarter. Kalamazoo continued with that same run with another jump shot and a layup to snag a 19-17 lead with 6:01 on the clock. Delaney Rohlman gave the Belles the lead back two possessions later with a three-pointer at the top of the key, but the Hornets banked in a layup on their next possession for a 21-20 advantage. Bella Dugas then connected on both attempts at the charity stripe to swing the lead back to the Belles at 22-21 with 4:26 remaining. After another minute-plus of scoreless play, Kalamazoo regained the upper hand with a three-pointer. The Belles called a timeout and moved into a full-court press. That change yielded immediate results as Erin Maloney snagged a steal and converted the immediate layup to pull the Belles even at 24-24. Another turnover by the Hornets led to Giavanna Paradiso hitting a layup, and a third consecutive turnover resulted in a pair of free throws by Maloney for a 28-24 lead. Two possessions later, Kalamazoo hit a layup to cut the lead in half. Carin Kaminski, however, gave the momentum right back after an offensive rebound and good three-pointer for a 31-26 lead at the half.
Jade Mosier kicked off the second half with a made three-pointer after Erin Maloney battled her way to a steal five seconds into play. Neither team was able to get a shot to fall over the next two-plus minutes of action, but the Belles were just getting started on offense. Giavanna Paradiso put four consecutive points on the scoreboard to extend the advantage to 39-26. The Hornets pulled within ten at 39-29, but Mosier sliced her way to a layup on the next chance for Saint Mary's. Maloney collected yet another steal, and Mosier converted the chance the other way. Delaney Rohlman pushed the lead to 45-29 with a pair of free throws, and Paradiso and Rohlman made it a 20-point lead a minute later. A late bucket in the period by Kalamazoo made it a 52-35 game going into the final quarter as the Belles out-scored the Hornets 21-9 in the third stanza.
Back-to-back buckets by Paradiso and Olivia Lathers gave the Belles their largest lead of the game at 56-35. Saint Mary's continued to have the offense click and led by at least 14 points over the final period. The Belles posted their best shooting quarter of the game by connecting on 63.6 percent (7-of-11) of their shots from the floor en route to the 68-50 win.
Saint Mary's out-rebounded Kalamazoo by a 38-29 margin and out-scored the Hornets 25-13 in points off of turnovers. The win gives the Belles their tenth victory of the season, marking the first time the Saint Mary's basketball program has registered double-digit wins since the 2011-12 season.
Jade Mosier led all players with 21 points, and Giavanna Paradiso registered her first double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Paradiso also chipped in a career-high six assists in the contest. Delaney Rohlman added a season-best nine points, and Bella Dugas had seven points and six rebounds. Erin Maloney matched her career-high with eight steals and notched three assists, four points, and three rebounds.

The Belles (10-11, 7-5 MIAA) are on the road on Wednesday when they travel to No. 9 Trine for a conference contest at 7:30 p.m.