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First-Half Shooting Holds Belles Back Against Knights

Maddie Rzepka goes up for a layup as a defensive player misses the block attempt from behind.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Saint Mary's basketball team had a tough time getting shots to fall while host Calvin hit 50 percent of the shots they took over the first half to build an insurmountable lead in a 65-43 final on Saturday afternoon.
Maddie Rzepka helped generate the offense for Saint Mary's early in the contest as the freshman tallied an assist on a jumper by Jade Mosier in the opening minute of action and used a layup a few minutes later to keep the Belles close at 9-4 with 6:29 on the clock. Giavanna Paradiso hit a layup of her own a minute later to again make it a five-point game at 11-6, but the Knights closed out the final 4:05 of the quarter with an 11-1 run to gain a 22-7 advantage through the first stanza.
A layup by Paradiso and a layup by Jade Mosier edged the Belles within 13 points of the Knights on two occasions in the second quarter, but the scoring chances continued to fall for Calvin while Saint Mary's had trouble getting buckets to fall. That combination led to the Knights gaining a 43-13 advantage in the waning moments of the second quarter. Giavanna Paradiso beat the buzzer with a layup to make it a 43-15 game at the half.
The third quarter saw the Knights extend their lead to a game-high 39 points at 60-21, but the Belles continued to fight all the way to the end of the contest. Paradiso closed out the third period with a layup, and Saint Mary's took that momentum into the fourth quarter. The layup in the third quarter started a 17-0 run for the Belles, which covered a span of six-plus minutes of play. Paradiso, Delaney Rohlman, Hannah Cavanaugh, Bella Dugas, and Maddie Rzepka each tallied points in the scoring column for Saint Mary's during that run which saw the Belles make it a 60-38 game with 4:01 remaining. Calvin tallied their first bucket of the quarter with 3:54 to play, but Paradiso and Rohlman responded with five more points to make it a 63-43 score with less than a minute to go. The Knights knocked down the final bucket of the game with a jump shot for the final 65-43 margin.
Calvin finished the game with a 42.2 percent (27-of-64) field goal percentage and a 47.4 percent (9-of-19) three-point percentage. Saint Mary's shot 25.4 percent (16-of-63) from the floor and 15.0 percent (3-of-20) from behind the arc.
Giavanna Paradiso led the Belles with 15 points and added five rebounds as Saint Mary's out-rebounded the Knights by a 44-40 margin. Bella Dugas and Hannah Cavanaugh each chipped in seven points. Dugas pulled down seven boards as Cavanaugh added three assists. Jade Mosier tallied six points for the Belles. Maddie Rzepka led all players and matched her season-high with ten rebounds.
The Belles (6-8, 3-2 MIAA) travel to Trine on Wednesday, January 15 for a 7:30 p.m. contest against the Thunder.