Posted: Feb 26, 2020
ALBION, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team was unable to overcome a first-quarter deficit as the sixth-seeded Belles fell 71-57 to third-seeded Albion on Wednesday evening.
The Belles had several good looks at the basket resulting in many good shots, but those attempts were just off the mark over the the opening four-plus minutes of play. Host Albion used that stretch to build an 11-0 lead through 4:22 of action. Bella Dugas got Saint Mary's on the scoreboard with a jumper and added another bucket on the Belles' next possession. Defensively, Saint Mary's slowed down the Brits over the next two minutes of play. Jade Mosier converted a three-point play, and Christina Shadid added a good jumper to make it an eight-point game at 17-9. Albion posted a pair of free throws with 48 seconds on the clock, but Dugas added another jumper to give the Belles some momentum going into the second period.
Albion scored on their first possession to start the second quarter, but Delaney Rohlman drained a three-pointer to make it 21-14. Less than a minute later, Giavanna Paradiso hit a layup as the teams traded buckets back and forth. The Brits extended their lead to 12 points with 7:38 on the clock. With Saint Mary's trailing 32-18 with four minutes remaining before halftime, Paradiso put five points on the scoreboard in the span of 42 seconds. Dugas added a layup on the next Saint Mary's possession to make it a nine-point game. After an Albion basket, both teams hit a scoreless stretch until Paradiso connected on two late free throws to make it a 36-27 game at the halftime break.
Mosier and Paradiso put back-to-back buckets on the scoreboard to open the third period to make it a 36-31 game. Albion responded with a basket of their own, but Maddie Rzepka got the Belles right back in business with a three-pointer. Bella Dugas came up with a big blocked shot on a three-pointer by Albion, and Paradiso made the most of the chance with a layup as Saint Mary's edged within two points at 38-36 with 6:50 on the clock. The Brits, however, scored on their next chance and added two more buckets to regain an eight-point lead. Saint Mary's showed their grit and continued to battle their way back into the mix. Nikki Murphy drained a three-pointer to re-energize the Belles. Rzepka converted both ends of a trip to the charity stripe as Saint Mary's made it a one-possession game at 44-41 with 4:20 on the clock. Albion, however, closed out the final four minutes of play with a 12-2 run for a 56-43 lead going into the final stanza.
Much like the start of the game, the Belles could not get the favorable bounce off of the rim. The host Brits had a similarly difficult time generating offense over the first 3:30 of the quarter as Albion maintained a 59-43 lead. Jade Mosier got the Belles on the scoreboard in a big way with a three-pointer. Paradiso added four consecutive points a minute later as Saint Mary's made it a 61-50 game with 5:33 to play. Christina Shadid sunk a three 1:20 later as the score stood at 63-53 with under four minutes remaining, but the Belles were unable to pull any closer down the stretch in the 71-57 final.
Albion made 47.5 percent (29-of-61) of their shots from the floor while Saint Mary's hit 35.6 percent (21-of-59) of their attempts from the floor. The Brits had a 44-31 edge in rebounds and outscored the Belles 12-3 in second-chance points.
Giavanna Paradiso led the Belles with 17 points and 12 rebounds to complete her fifth double-double of the season. Bella Dugas chipped in 10 points, and Jade Mosier added nine points. Maddie Rzepka posted eight points for the Belles on the night.
The Belles finish the season with a 10-16 record while making their second-consecutive MIAA Tournament appearance.