Paradiso Reaches 1,000 Career Points as Belles Prevail Over Hornets

Giavanna Paradiso prepares to catch a pass from a teammate as two defending players close in.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A seven-point swing late in the second quarter was capped off with Giavanna Paradiso's 1,000th career point and the Saint Mary's basketball team never trailed again in a 71-58 win over visiting Kalamazoo on Wednesday night.
 
The two sides played a back-and-forth first quarter as each team fought to try to find their rhythm on offense. The Hornets posted two early free throws before Jade Mosier sunk a three-pointer and Giavanna Paradiso connected on a layup for a 5-2 Saint Mary's lead. Five consecutive points by Kalamazoo swung the lead back into the Hornets' hands less than a minute later. Paradiso converted a three-point play, but the visiting side used a 9-1 run to build a 16-10 lead with 2:39 on the clock. After a Saint Mary's timeout, the Belles closed out the quarter with the final five points of the period with Mosier and Paradiso continuing to provide a big one-two punch offensively.
 
That scoring run carried over into the second quarter as Christina Shadid drained a three-pointer and Paradiso added two more free throws to give Saint Mary's a 20-16 lead less than two minutes into the stanza. The Hornets came back with four consecutive points to tie it up. Paradiso added another layup, but a three-pointer by Kalamazoo put the Hornets up 23-22. That lead was short-lived as Devan Buda connected on a tough layup for a 24-23 Saint Mary's lead. Mosier converted a three-point play almost two minutes later, and Olivia Lathers hit a mid-range jumper late in the quarter for a 29-24 advantage. Paradiso then reached the 1,000-point plateau with an up-and-under layup on the left side of the lane to push the Belles ahead 31-24 while giving Saint Mary's a burst of momentum going into the halftime break.
 
The Belles opened the third quarter on a 16-5 run while consuming more than six minutes of the stanza as Saint Mary's built a 47-29 lead over Kalamazoo. Nikki Murphy, Bella Dugas, Paradiso, and Mosier all got in on the scoring as the Belles built an insurmountable lead. Kalamazoo regained some momentum by posting seven of the final 11 points of the quarter to make it a 54-39 game going into the final ten minutes.
 
Christina Shadid connected on her second three-pointer of the game to begin the fourth-quarter scoring for a 57-39 Saint Mary's lead. Two-and-a-half minutes later, the freshman dialed in from long distance again. A steal and pull-up jumper by Paradiso on the fastbreak gave the Belles their largest advantage at 62-43 with 6:40 to play. A layup by Bella Dugas almost a minute later on an in-bounds play saw the Belles match their same 19-point advantage. Kalamazoo battled back over the next four minutes of play as the Hornets cut the deficit to ten points at 65-55 with 1:42 remaining, but five free throws by Murphy, Olivia Lathers, and Paradiso combined put the Saint Mary's lead back to 15 at 70-55 as the Belles closed out the 71-58 decision at home.
 
As a team, the Belles set season-best marks for rebounds in a game (53) and fewest turnovers in a contest (13) while connecting on 85.0 percent (17-of-20) free throws in the win. Saint Mary's outscored Kalamazoo in the paint (30-24), off of turnovers (22-3), on second-chance opportunities (19-6), and in scoring by players off of the bench (20-2).
 
Paradiso, meanwhile, scored 16 points in the first half to become the program's 14th player all-time to amass 1,000 career points. Additionally, she is just the fourth player in Saint Mary's basketball history to reach 1,000 points in her junior season and is the second-fastest player (67 games) to 1,000 points since Saint Mary's became an NCAA member in the 1989-90 academic year.
 
Giavanna Paradiso led all players in both scoring and rebounds with 23 points and 11 boards as she collected her third double-double of the season. The junior co-captain also shared game-high honors with four assists. Jade Mosier narrowly missed out on a double-double of her own with 17 points and nine rebounds. Christina Shadid dropped in nine points, and Bella Dugas and Olivia Lathers each tallied six points.
 
The Belles (7-10, 4-4 MIAA) travel to Albion on Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. contest against the Brits.