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Second Half Sets Belles Back Against Stars

Bella Dugas dribbles past a defending player.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team pulled within five points of visiting Dominican with 4:31 to play, but the Belles were unable to fully overcome the deficit in a 61-49 final on Saturday afternoon.
The Stars grabbed an early lead with the first five points of the contest, but eight consecutive points by Bella Dugas - including a pair of three-pointers - edged the Belles within two at 10-8 with 5:42 on the clock. Christina Shadid battled her way to a layup to pull Saint Mary's even on the next possession by the Belles. Dominican regained the lead with a three-pointer before the two teams hit a two-minute scoreless stretch. Shadid connected on a free throw to make it a 13-11 game, but a 7-1 spurt by the Stars put the visitors ahead 20-12 with under a minute remaining in the period. The Belles, however, took the momentum into the second quarter when Olivia Lathers drained a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the right side of the floor to make it a 20-15 score.
Dominican opened the second quarter with a three-pointer, but the Belles scored the next eight points to draw even at 23-23 Giavanna Paradiso and Bella Dugas each scored four. Delaney Rohlman added an open layup a short while later to tie the score at 25-25, and Christina Shadid connected on a second-chance mid-range jumper to make it a 27-27 score with just over three minutes left before the half. Dugas then dialed in from long distance for the third time in the contest to give Saint Mary's a 30-27 lead on their next possession. The Stars tallied a jumper with a minute and a half to play in the quarter, and the score stood at that same 30-27 margin at the halftime break.
Giavanna Paradiso extended the lead back to three with a jump shot early in the third quarter, but the Belles could not get a favorable bounce over the next two minutes while Dominican used a 10-0 run to gain a 39-32 lead. Paradiso stopped the drought with a layup, but back-to-back buckets by the Stars pushed the score to 43-34 with 4:51 remaining in the quarter. Both sides had trouble getting any shots to fall over the next two minutes, and Jade Mosier used an offensive rebound and put-back jump shot to put the Belles back in the scoring column. Olivia Lathers banked in a mid-range jumper to make it a 45-38 game less than a minute later. The Stars, however, countered with a three-pointer for a 10-point advantage. Late in the quarter, Bella Dugas sunk a free throw to make it a nine-point game. Lathers then beat the buzzer for the second time in the contest with a fastbreak layup to cut the deficit to seven going into the final quarter.
The Stars went ahead 50-41 two minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Belles used a strong push on the offensive glass to get a put-back layup by Mosier for a 50-43 score. Bella Dugas had an offensive rebound and tough-angle jump shot of her own a short while later to pull Saint Mary's within five points at 50-45 with 5:53 on the clock. Giavanna Paradiso countered a Dominican layup with one of her own to again make it a five-point game, but a layup in transition by the Stars followed by a steal and a three-pointer pushed the Dominican lead back to double-digits at 57-47 with 3:31 to play. The Belles continued to battle, however, as a Jade Mosier steal led to a Paradiso layup to make it 57-49 with 2:46 to go, but Saint Mary's continued to see shots roll off the rim down the stretch as Dominican claimed the 61-49 decision.
Saint Mary's out-rebounded Dominican by a 37-32 margin with a 16-11 edge in offensive rebounds. The Stars posted a 41.8 percent (23-of-55) shooting effort to the Belles' 36.2 percent (21-of-38) showing, and Dominican converted all eight of their free throw attempts while Saint Mary's made 3-of-8 attempts from the charity stripe.
Bella Dugas scored a career-high 18 points on a 7-of-8 shooting effort from the floor, which included a 3-of-3 performance from three-point range. The sophomore led the Belles with nine rebounds in the contest. Giavanna Paradiso chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds. Olivia Lathers posted seven points, and Jade Mosier and Christina Shadid each scored five.
The Belles (5-7) return to competition on Saturday, January 4 when they host conference foe Olivet at 3:00 p.m.