Destination victory: Belles take to road
Assistant Sports Editor
The Belles are hoping to strike out on the road to victory today following a 0-3 home stand. They will take on the Scots of Alma at 7:30 p.m. in Cappaert Gymnasium at Alma.
"I think we focus a lot better on the road," head coach Suzanne Smith said. "It could be good to get [the team] away from home and build some team unity."
Saint Mary's will need focus and unity to defeat an Alma team (12-5) that holds second place in the MIAA with a league record of 7-1. The Scots, who are 10-1 at home, are coming off of their third straight victory after defeating Adrian 73-59 on Saturday.
The Belles are trying to recover from their seventh straight defeat after a crushing loss to Albion on Saturday, 69-56. The loss dropped them to last place in the MIAA.
"We're just going go out there and play and try to win," sophomore guard Katie Christiansen said.
After starting the season with a 4-2 record, the Belles have recently fallen prey to some confidence problems. A victory tonight would mark only the second MIAA win all season.
"I think right now we're playing against ourselves," Smith said late last week.
Tonight, however, the Belles will be facing more than just emotional blocks. Leading post player, Kristen Matha, who sat out the last three games due to a hip flexor muscle injury, is still questionable for play.
"I can see her getting in there," Smith said. "But it might just be for a few minutes."
To add illness to injury, four players missed Monday's practice due to sickness, swapping time that could have been used for team play for weight training and shooting drills. Post players Elizabeth Linkous and Katie Gamache are still questionable for play tonight.
"We're excited to play," Christiansen said. "But our bodies have been run down."
The last time these two teams faced off, Saint Mary's came close to defeating then first place Alma, dropping the game by only five points.
"I think the Alma game was so close last time that we really want to win this," Smith said.
In order to win, Saint Mary's will have to shut down Alma's sophomore leaders Shelly Ulfig and Janell Twietmeyer. Starting forward Twietmeyer dominates on offense and defense with 14 points a game and nine rebounds. Ulfig, the starting center, joins Twietmeyer averaging 11 points and five rebounds.
Smith will be looking to a strong zone defense and an aggressive press to cool off the hot Alma offense.
"Their post players are very good," Smith said. "We're working on shutting them down."
Stealing the ball from the Scots will be up to starting guards Christiansen, Mary Campione and Julie Norman. Christiansen led the Belles on Saturday with four rebounds. Joining them will be post players Anne Blair, who has been leading the team in scoring, and Kelly Roberts.
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, January 31, 2001