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Belles Halted by Warriors

The basketball team gathers together for a huddle prior to the start of a game.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The Saint Mary's basketball team was stopped short in a 67-36 final against Wisconsin Lutheran on Friday night on day one of the Paul Knueppel Classic.

The two sides jockeyed for position early in the game as Giavanna Paradiso put the first six points of the contest on the scoreboard for Saint Mary's to give the Belles a 6-5 lead 3:34 into play. The Warriors responded with a 9-0 run over the next 2:20 of play to gain a 14-6 advantage with under four minutes remaining in the period. Bella Dugas hit a second-change layup a minute later to break up the scoring run for Wisconsin Lutheran, and Sophie Koeppl drained a three-pointer two possessions later to make it a 14-11 game with 1:07 on the clock. The Warriors responded with a three-pointer of their own, but Erin Maloney snagged a steal and hit the fastbreak layup at the other end to keep the Belles close at 17-13 through one quarter of play.

Paradiso opened the second quarter with a layup to pull Saint Mary's within two points at 17-15. Wisconsin Lutheran put together a 7-0 scoring spurt over the next three minutes to build their lead to nine points, but back-to-back buckets by Paradiso and Maloney a short while later put the Belles right back in business at 24-19. The Warriors hit a three-pointer on their next possession and closed out the half with consecutive baskets to hold a 35-23 lead at the half.

The host Warriors opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run as some early turnovers in the period prevented the Belles' offense from responding. Paradiso hit a layup to put Saint Mary's in the scoring column, and Erin Maloney added a free throw a short while later to make it 43-26. The Warriors, however, closed out the final 1:30 of the quarter with a 9-0 run to hold a 52-26 lead going into the final 10 minutes of play.

The two sides played a closely-scored fourth quarter with Wisconsin Lutheran out-scoring Saint Mary's 15-10 during the final period for the 67-36 final.

Giavanna Paradiso led the Belles with 12 points to go along with seven rebounds while Sophie Koeppl added six points and eight rebounds. Erin Maloney tallied five points and six rebounds. Bella Dugas chipped in seven rebounds and four points.

The Belles (2-1) are back in action on Saturday when they square off against Wisconsin-La Crosse at 1:00 p.m. CST.