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Belles Outlast Comets for Conference Win

Giavanna Paradiso, wearing a navy blue uniform, dribbles the basketball past an opposing player in a grey uniform to the left.
OLIVET, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team out-scored host Olivet 12-6 over the final 4:01 of play to claim a 67-57 over Comets.
The Belles jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead through the first 2:30 of action as Saint Mary's scored on four of their first five possessions of the game. Giavanna Paradiso and Bella Dugas each hit a layup, Sophie Koeppl drained a three-pointer, and Jade Mosier tallied a layup of her own. Holding a two-point lead at 11-9 three minutes later, Erin Maloney hit a three-pointer just before Caroline Macius tallied a layup to give Saint Mary's a 16-9 advantage with 3:23 remaining in the period. The host Comets, however, went on a 9-0 run over the final 2:32 of action to take an 18-16 lead at the first break.
Jade Mosier quickly tied the game at 18-18, and Giavanna Paradiso added a fastbreak layup on the next Saint Mary's possession to knot the score at 20-20 less than a minute into the quarter. Paradiso added a free throw a short while later, and Sophie Koeppl banked in a layup for a 23-20 Saint Mary's lead with 6:39 on the clock. The Comets hit a layup to make it a one-point lead, but Kelsie Bies drained a big three-pointer for a 26-22 advantage. With a minute remaining in the period and the Belles holding a 27-26 lead, Paradiso converted a big three-point play to put Saint Mary's ahead 30-26 going into the halftime break.
An Olivet three-pointer early in the third quarter to make it a 32-31 score, but the Belles responded with a quick 7-0 spurt to pull ahead 39-31 as the Comets called a timeout. Bella Dugas had a pair of free throws, Jade Mosier sunk a three-pointer in front of the Belles' bench, and Giavanna Paradiso tallied a layup for the eight-point lead. The Comets came back with an 8-1 run to edge within a point at 40-39, but the Belles showed their resilience as Erin Maloney hit a pair of free throws before Paradiso gave Saint Mary'ss a 43-39 lead. Paradiso extended the advantage with two free throws, but a late free throw by Olivet made it a 45-40 game heading into the final stanza.
Sophie Koeppl gave the momentum right back to Saint Mary's by opening the fourth quarter with a three-pointer on the Belles' first possession. Paradiso and Dugas combined for the next five points to extend the lead to 53-40 with 7:42 remaining. Some pressure by the Comets' defense spurred a push by Olivet to edge within four points at 55-51 with 4:17 on the clock. Bella Dugas hit a pair of free throws, and Paradiso added a layup to give Saint Mary's a 59-51 lead with over two minutes still remaining, but four consecutive free throws by the Comets cut the lead to four at 59-55 with 1:43 to play. Paradiso replied with four consecutive free throws of her own for a 63-55 advantage. A quick layup by the Comets kept Olivet alive with 46 seconds on the clock, but Megan Saunders and Jade Mosier iced the game with four combined free throws for the 67-57 final.
The Belles out-rebounded the Comets by a 43-29 margin and had 29 defensive rebounds to Olivet's 19 defensive boards. Saint Mary's connected on 81.5 percent (22-of-27) free throws while the Comets made 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) of their attempts from the charity stripe.
Giavanna Paradiso led all players with 23 points and shared game-high honors with eight rebounds. Bella Dugas chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds. Jade Mosier tallied nine points, and Sophie Koeppl posted eight points. Erin Maloney broke the 300 career assist plateau with five dimes to go along with five points and two steals.
The Belles (6-8, 3-2 MIAA) have a break from play this weekend and return to action on Wednesday, January 9 when they host Kalamazoo at 7:30 p.m. at Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex.