Belles Overcome Tough Start to Bounce Bulldogs

Giavanna Paradiso dribbles past a defending player.
ADRIAN, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team outscored host Adrian by 23 points over the final three quarters as the Belles took a 64-41 win on the road in a conference matchup on Saturday.
 
The teams traded buckets in the first two minutes of play before the two sides struggled to generate offense for much of the remainder of the opening period. Bella Dugas put the Belles on the scoreboard with a put-back layup, and Giavanna Paradiso hit a jumper 2:34 later to give Saint Mary's a 4-2 lead. Paradiso added another layup for a 6-2 advantage for the Belles with 3:44 on the clock, but a three-pointer by the Bulldogs on their next possession made it a one-point game at 6-5. Neither team was able to get a shot to fall from the floor during the remainder of the quarter, but Adrian connected on a free throw with 49 seconds on the clock in the quarter to knot the game at 6-6.
 
Jade Mosier opened the second quarter with a three-pointer, and Paradiso added another jump shot a short while later to put Saint Mary's ahead 11-6. The Bulldogs added back-to-back buckets of their own to edge within a point. Devan Buda kept the Belles ahead with a fastbreak layup, and Giavanna Paradiso connected from behind the arc after Adrian pulled within a point again as Saint Mary's maintained the lead. Paradiso put up consecutive buckets to make it a 20-12 Saint Mary's lead midway through the quarter, but Adrian responded with five points over the next two minutes to push the score to 20-17. Christina Shadid and Paradiso, however, countered with six unanswered points over the final 2:40 of the quarter to give the Belles a 26-17 lead at the halftime break.
 
The Bulldogs opened the third quarter with three free throws, but Dugas, Paradiso, Shadid, and Maddie Rzepka all put points on the scoreboard as the Belles built a 35-21 lead. After cutting the deficit to nine on two occasions, the Bulldogs made it a seven-point game at 37-30 with under two minutes left on the clock in the stanza. Giavanna Paradiso converted a three-point play on the next Saint Mary's possession, and Christina Shadid added two free throws late in the quarter to keep the Belles ahead by double digits at 42-31 going into the final period.
 
Olivia Lathers kicked off the fourth quarter with a layup, and Jade Mosier added a layup of her own a short while later to give Saint Mary's a pair of 13-point advantages. After an Adrian layup made it 46-35, Lathers and Paradiso sunk back-to-back three-pointers for the Belles to give Saint Mary's a 52-35 lead with seven minutes still to play. Each time the Bulldogs scored, the Belles came right back with an answer. Lathers added another three-pointer to put the Belles ahead 59-39, and Mosier added five more points down the stretch to push the lead to 64-39. A pair of free throws in the closing seconds by the host Bulldogs made the final score 64-41 in favor of Saint Mary's. The 23-point decision is the largest margin of victory for the Belles to-date this season.
 
As a team, the Belles hit 43.1 percent (25-of-58) of their shots from the floor and 36.8 percent (7-of-19) of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, shot 25.9 percent (14-of-54) from the floor and 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from three-point range in the contest. Saint Mary's converted all seven free throw attempts taken in the game while Adrian was 10-of-16 from the charity stripe.
 
Giavanna Paradiso led all players with 27 points after hitting 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) of her shots from the floor as the junior co-captain also added two steals, two assists, and seven rebounds. Jade Mosier narrowly missed out on a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds while as she collected three steals and three assists. Christina Shadid chipped in nine points, and Olivia Lathers posted eight points.
 
The Belles (5-6, 2-1 MIAA) are off from competition for finals week and return to the hardwood on Saturday, December 21 when they host Dominican at 1:00 p.m. to close out 2019.