Posted: Feb 19, 2020
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The shooting percentages from all areas of the floor were a near deadlock, but visiting Albion (receiving votes - d3hoops.com Top 25 Poll) made four more shots from the floor and five additional free throws as the Saint Mary's basketball team was edged out in a 71-59 final on Senior Night.
Delaney Rohlman helped set the tone defensively for the Belles over the opening three minutes of action as the senior snagged a pair of steals on Albion's first two possessions. Jade Mosier capitalized on a steal by Maddie Rzepka moments later with a three-pointer for the first points of the game, and Rzepka drained a jumper for a 5-0 Saint Mary's lead. Rohlman collected yet another steal, and Mosier connected from behind the arc a half-minute later as the Belles maintained an 8-2 advantage. Paradiso got in on the scoring with a pair of hard-fought layups, and Mosier and Bella Dugas extended the lead to eight points with a minute remaining in the quarter with back-to-back buckets. Rohlman got a layup to drop while being fouled, and Paradiso beat the buzzer with a layup to give Saint Mary's a 20-11 lead through ten minutes of play.
The Brits scored consecutive three-pointers to start the second period, but Nikki Murphy sliced her way to a layup to make it a two-possession lead at 22-17. Paradiso put four free throws on the scoreboard over the next two-plus minutes of play, and Saint Mary's continued to hold the lead at 26-21 with 5:55 still to play in the quarter. Paradiso again powered her way to a layup two minutes later for a 28-23 lead, but the Brits used a three-point play and a jump shot to knot the game at 28-28 with 2:02 on the clock. Jade Mosier pulled down a defensive rebound and made a jump shot the other way for a 30-28 lead by the Belles, but Albion used two made shots in the final 37 seconds of the period to carry a 32-30 lead into the halftime break.
Mosier kicked off the third quarter with a three-pointer to swing the lead back into the Belles' hands at 33-32, but the Brits countered with six consecutive points for a 38-33 advantage. Olivia Lathers knocked down a jumper for the Belles to make it 38-33. Albion, however, put the next ten points on the scoreboard to go ahead 48-35 with 2:38 on the clock. Mosier connected on a mid-range jump shot to cut the deficit to 11. Albion pushed their lead to 15 late in the quarter before Lathers sunk a pair of free throws to make it a 53-40 game going into the final stanza.
Mosier scored on a shot in the paint and added a layup in transition to again pull the Belles within 11 points on two occasions early in the fourth period. Mosier then fed a pass to Paradiso on the press break, and the junior scored to make it a 57-46 game as the tempo of play was dialed up on both ends of the floor. Alboin took their largest lead of the game at 66-48 with 4:05 to play after play slowed down, but the Belles continued to battle down the stretch. Rzepka made a free throw, Paradiso added a layup, Bella Dugas sunk a three-pointer in front of the Belles' bench, and Jade Mosier connected on a free throw of her own as the Belles put seven consecutive points on the scoreboard to make it 66-55. Albion made the front end of a double-bonus trip to the charity stripe before Maddie Rzepka cut the deficit to 10 points at 67-57 with 43 seconds on the clock. Another jumper by Rzepka 12 seconds later again made it a 10-point game at 69-59, but the Belles were unable to pull any closer in the 71-59 final.
Albion made 39.1 percent (27-of-69) of their shots from the floor while Saint Mary's connected on 39.0 percent (23-of-59) of their field goal attempts. The Brits were 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) from three-point range, and the Belles were 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) from behind the arc. Saint Mary's hit 52.9 percent (9-of-17) of their free throw attempts as Albion made 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the charity stripe. The Brits had a 47-44 edge in rebounds but were +11 (19-8) in second-chance opportunities.
Jade Mosier led the Belles with 20 points and nine rebounds while adding two steals and two assists. Giavanna Paradiso posted 16 points and eight rebounds with two assists. Maddie Rzepka chipped in nine points, four rebounds, and three assists. Bella Dugas added nine points, and Delaney Rohlman matched her career-high with a team-best three steals while pulling down five rebounds.
The Belles (9-15, 6-7 MIAA) travel to Olivet on Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. conference game. The outcome of that contest as well as other league results will determine whether the Belles will be the No. 5 or No. 6 seeded team in the upcoming MIAA Tournament next week.