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Belles Stopped by Nationally-Ranked Titans

Hannah Cavanaugh dribbles the basketball with an opposing player nearby on defense.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Saint Mary's basketball team came up on the short end of a 79-44 final against cross-town foe No. 24 (NAIA D-II Women's Basketball Coaches' Poll) IU-South Bend on Wednesday evening.
The host Titans opened the game with a three-pointer and added a layup on their next opportunity to snag a quick 5-0 advantage. Giavanna Paradiso battled her way to a layup a minute later, and Bella Dugas added a layup of her own to cut the deficit to a point at 5-4. After IU-South Bend hit a three-pointer with just over six minutes remaining on the clock, Paradiso banked in a three-pointer of her own before the shot clock expired to again make it a one-point lead with 5:36 remaining in the opening period. The Belles, however, could not get an offensive bounce to go their way over the final five minutes of the quarter as the Titans went on to out-score Saint Mary's by a 16-0 margin for a 24-7 lead at the first break.
IU-South Bend added to their lead with the first nine points of the second period for a 33-7 lead, but Paradiso got the Belles back on the scoreboard with a jumper. Bella Dugas then pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled on the put-back attempt. The sophomore converted both free throws to make it a 33-11 game. The two sides went back-and-forth over the next two-plus minutes of play before two free throws by Paradiso and a back-door layup by Carin Kaminski gave Saint Mary's a chance to cut the deficit to less than 20 late in the quarter. The Titans, however, notched three free throws to keep a distant lead. Kaminski closed out the half with a pair of free throws as the score stood at 42-21 in favor of the nationally-ranked Titans. 
The Belles were held to five points in the third quarter as IU-South Bend tallied 21 during that same ten-minute span, and the Titans went on to hold at least a 30-point advantage over the final stretch of play in the 79-44 final.
Giavanna Paradiso led all players with 15 points on the night and had a team-high five rebounds for the Belles. Hannah Cavanaugh posted a season-best eight points. Bella Dugas chipped in six points and four rebounds with a steal and a blocked shot.
The Belles (4-6) return to MIAA competition this Saturday when they travel to Adrian for a 3:00 p.m. contest against the Bulldogs.