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Belles Battle Past Comets

The Saint Mary's basketball team, wearing white uniforms and blue shoes, huddles up prior to the start of a game.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Belles posted their best shooting effort in the fourth quarter while limiting visiting Olivet to their lowest shooting percentage of the contest in that same span as the Saint Mary's basketball team claimed a 53-49 win over the Comets on Saturday afternoon.
The Belles jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead through the first 3:55 of action. Erin Maloney put the Saint Mary's on the scoreboard after a steal at mid-court and a fastbreak layup the other way. Jade Mosier added a pair of free throws before Olivet tallied a bucket to make it 4-2. Two possessions later, a pair of offensive rebounds saw the Belles turn the extended chance into points with Mosier hitting her first shot from the floor. Another extended possession by the home side led to a good three-pointer in the corner by Carin Kaminski to lift Saint Mary's to the 9-2 advantage. Olivet responded with a three-pointer of their own on their next possession, and the Comets converted a turnover into points to make it a 9-7 game with 5:06 on the clock. Neither side could get a shot to fall over the next 2:16 of play. Olivet eventually drew even with a layup, but the two teams again hit a scoreless stretch of 2:43. The Comets took their first lead of the game with a jump shot in the final 10 seconds of the quarter as Olivet held an 11-9 edge after one period of play.
A good jump shot to open the second quarter gave the Comets a 13-9 advantage, but Sophie Koeppl responded a short while later with a good three-pointer to pull the Belles within one. Olivet added a three-pointer of their own to make it a 16-12 game. Both sides turned the ball over due to shot clock violations before the Belles made it a one-possession game at 16-14 with Mosier sinking a shot at the top of the lane. Olivet hit one free throw a short while later for a 17-14 lead. The Saint Mary's defense put some pressure on the Comets and jumped into the passing lanes at opportune times as the Belles forced Olivet into four consecutive turnovers late in the quarter. After the fourth such turnover, Olivia Lathers made the most of the extra pass by Delaney Rohlman as Lathers drained a three-pointer from the right side of the floor to tie the game at 17-17. The Comets countered with a three-pointer of their own, but the Belles owned the final minute-and-a-half of the quarter. Lathers hit both ends of a trip to the charity stripe, and Erin Maloney followed suit with a pair of free throws after being fouled on a layup attempt. Maloney then swiped a steal, and a pair of offensive boards led to a put-back layup by Giavanna Paradiso in the final seconds of the quarter to give Saint Mary's a 23-20 lead at the half.
Paradiso hit a pair of layups in the third quarter to push the lead to 27-22, but a 4-1 spurt by the Comets kept Olivet right in the mix at 28-27 midway through the quarter. Paradiso's sixth point of the period gave Saint Mary's a 29-27 edge. The Comets, however knotted the score on the next possession with a layup. Erin Maloney came right back with a tough shot in the lane, and Paradiso added a free throw for a 32-29 lead with 3:11 on the clock. Carin Kaminski ensured the Belles maintained the lead a short while later with a free throw, but a pair of free throws at the other end saw the Comets tie things up at 33-33 with 1:26 on the clock. Bella Dugas blocked a layup in the middle of the lane late in the quarter, and Paradiso put home the layup on that possession to regain the lead for the home side with 40 seconds on the clock. Erin Maloney then drew a charge to give the ball back to the Belles late in the period as Saint Mary's took the two-point lead into the final quarter.
Buoyed by the defensive stop late in the third period, the Belles opened the fourth quarter with three-pointers by Jade Mosier and Sophie Koeppl to take a 41-33 lead. Mosier added a free throw less than a minute later to give the home side the largest lead of the contest at 42-33 with 7:300 to play. Olivet tried to build some momentum with a three-point play on their next possession. Saint Mary's countered with a perfectly-run play which led to Sophie Koeppl hitting Paradiso for an open layup for a 44-36 advantage. The Belles then forced the Comets into another shot clock violation as Erin Maloney came up with a big blocked shot on a three-pointer late in the possession. The Comets, however, responded with back-to-back buckets on their next two possessions to pull within four points. A minute later, Sophie Koeppl hit a momentum-shifting three-pointer with under four minutes remaining on the clock. Bella Dugas blocked another shot, and Paradiso made a layup at the other end for a 49-40 Saint Mary's lead with under three minutes left to play. A minute later, Olivet got on the scoreboard with a layup, but both sides had turnovers on their next two chances as Saint Mary's held the seven-point advantage with a minute remaining. The Comets tried to gain some momentum on a steal and looked for the fastbreak layup the other way, but Erin Maloney had her second big blocked shot of the quarter to stop the scoring chance. Giavanna Paradiso snagged the rebound on the play, and the Comets were forced into fouling the Belles late. Jade Mosier made a free throw with 32 seconds on the clock to put the home side up 50-42. Olivet responded with three consecutive free throws to pull within five points with 20 seconds to play, but Paradiso sunk both free throws for a 52-45 lead three seconds later. After using a timeout to advance the ball, the Comets scored a quick jumper for a 52-47 score. Mosier then hit a free throw for a six-point lead with 10 seconds remaining. Olivet added a late layup, but the Belles ran out the clock for the 53-49 win.
The Belles connected on 50.0 percent (5-of-10) shots from the floor and 3-of-5 three-pointers in the fourth period to out-score Olivet 18-16. The Comets, who had posted better than a 40.0 percent shooting mark in each of the first three quarters, were held to 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) shooting from the floor and an 0-of-6 effort behind the arc in the final quarter of play.
Saint Mary's out-rebounded Olivet by a 42-29 margin with a 21-7 edge in offensive rebounds. Those extended possessions yielded big results as the Belles had a 17-6 margin in second-chance points in the contest.
Giavanna Paradiso led all players with 17 points while Jade Mosier picked up her third double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Erin Maloney matched her career-high with 10 rebounds while tallying six points, five steals, two assists, and two big blocked shots in the fourth quarter. Sophie Koeppl chipped in nine points for the Belles.
The Belles (9-11, 6-5 MIAA) have a break from competition and are back in action on Saturday, February 2 when they travel to Kalamazoo for a 3:00 p.m. conference contest.