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Belles Sink Brits in MIAA Tournament First Round

Jade Mosier, wearing a navy blue uniform, cuts through three defending players for a layup.
ALBION, Mich. - Trailing 10-7 in the first quarter, the Belles closed out the period on a 7-0 run and never trailed again as the sixth-seeded Saint Mary's basketball team took a 58-42 win over host and third-seeded Albion in the first round of the MIAA Tournament.
Jade Mosier opened the scoring with a three-pointer on the first play of the game. The Brits used a pair of turnovers to post back-to-back buckets to gain a 4-3 lead, but Giavanna Paradiso made the most of an extended possession by banking in a layup to give the lead back to Saint Mary's at 5-4. Neither team was able to hit a bucket over the next two-plus minutes of action. Albion broke that drought with four consecutive points, but Paradiso kept the Belles close with a layup to push the score to 8-7. The Brits gained a 10-7 advantage with 3:39 on the clock as both sides hit another stretch where shots just would not fall. With 1:30 to play in the period, Erin Maloney hit a big three-pointer from the right wing to knot the game at 10-10 while kick-starting a late run by the Belles. Paradiso hit both ends of a trip to the charity stripe, and Jade Mosier added a layup on the Belles' final possession of the quarter to give Saint Mary's a 14-10 lead.
Albion cut the deficit to two points with an offensive board and put-back jumper, but the Belles shifted the momentum right back in their favor when Olivia Lathers drained back-to-back three-pointers from opposite sides of the floor. Erin Maloney made it a nine-point lead less than a minute later with a free throw  for a 21-12 advantage. A pair of layups by Albion cut the lead to five points at 21-16, but the Belles responded with a big 11-2 run over the next 3:26 of play. Jade Mosier started that run with a three-pointer, and Kelsie Bies dialed one in from long distance to make it 27-16. Giavanna Paradiso hit a layup, and Carin Kaminski added a triple after an Albion jumper to give the Belles a 32-18 advantage with 2:34 to play in the quarter. A late push by the Brits, however, made it a 34-24 game going into the halftime break.
The Belles opened up the third quarter with another jump shot by Mosier and a three-pointer in front of the Saint Mary's bench by Bella Dugas as the lead ballooned to 15 points. The Brits chipped away and made it a 39-32 game with an 8-0 spurt, but Mosier hit a huge three-pointer to give the Belles a double-digit lead at 42-32 with 1:58 remaining in the period. Paradiso sunk two more free throws, and Mosier hit a baseline jumper late in the quarter as Saint Mary's held a 46-32 lead going into the final period.
The Brits pulled within 11 points of the Belles at 47-36 early in the quarter, but Saint Mary's gained the momentum for good with an 11-0 run over the next 3:16 of play. A pair of Mosier three-pointers sandwiched a layup by Paradiso, and Kelsie Bies drained her second trey of the game to lift Saint Mary's to the 58-36 advantage. Albion used a pair of late buckets to push the score to the 58-42 final as the Belles prevailed.
The victory for Saint Mary's over the Brits in Albion's at Kresge Gymnasium since a 70-62 victory on February 1, 2012.
The Belles shot 20-of-49 (40.8 percent) from the floor with a season-best 12-of-25 effort (48.0 percent) behind the arc. Of the 20 shots made by Saint Mary's, there was an assist on 18 buckets. The defense limited host Albion to a 1-of-21 effort (4.8 percent) from three-point range as the Brits tallied 19-of-60 shots (31.7 percent) in the contest.
Jade Mosier had a game-high 23 points on 60.0 percent shooting from the floor to lead the Belles. Giavanna Paradiso collected her third double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-best 10 rebounds. Olivia Lathers and Kelsie Bies each hit a pair of three-pointers for six points. Erin Maloney posted six rebounds, five assists, four steals, and four points.
The Belles advance to the MIAA Tournament Semifinal round and will take on second-seeded Hope at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at Trine's MTI Center.