Belles fall short against Calvin, come out on top of Alma
By JOE LINDSLEY
After a narrow loss Saturday to Calvin, the Saint Mary's basketball team bounced back on Sunday against conference rival Alma.
The Belles, 3-7 in MIAA play and 7-14 overall, fell short of beating the Knights of Calvin by a single point, 52-51, in front of a season-high number of fans. But the team defeated Alma, 50-43, on Sunday playing a make-up game for a contest that was cancelled earlier in the week due to bad weather.
While the close loss to Calvin was disappointing for Saint Mary's, the victory over Alma is both an emotional and necessary tactical victory for the Belles.
After losing at Alma 66-52 on Jan. 5, Saint Mary's was ripe for revenge and in need of a victory after recording four losses in a row.
"We are so thrilled. I don't even remember the last time Saint Mary's beat Alma. We are just so pumped after this win," said senior Jaime Dineen. "Before the game was cancelled, we prepared really well and we were all so excited to play Alma because it was such a rival for us. It was such a close game when we played at Alma, and we wanted revenge."
Freshman Emily Creachbaum led the Belles with 14 points, in addition to contributing 12 boards and seven assists. Because of her play, she was named an honorable mention for the MIAA player of the week, as she and her team shut down former MIAA players of week Shelly Ulfig and Janelle Twietmeyer. Both were limited to 13 points each.
"She has done an amazing job this year," said Dineen of Creachbaum. "She's been guarding top players. She has stepped up in every game."
Senior Anne Blair, who had a game-high 23 points versus Calvin, had eight points and eight rebounds against Alma.
Improving its rebounding has been an important goal for Saint Mary's and the increased attention they devoted to this skill seems to be paying off. In recent games, Saint Mary's has been out-rebounded by as many as 20 boards, but Saturday they had 40 to Calvin's 39 and on Sunday, 36 to Alma's 39.
"We've been focusing on being disciplined ... You have to do the little things. It's not about records anymore," Dineen said. "Every team is pretty much equal. Each night we have to come out, get the offensive rebounds, make the free throws."
A problem Saint Mary's has been dealing with is losing steam during the second half, but this weekend they gained momentum as their games progressed. After being down 26-19, they outscored Calvin 32-26 in the second half. Against Alma, the Belles were down 30-25 at the half, but came back to outscore the Scots 25-13.
"We concentrated on staying real positive during the second half, and I think we did," said Dineen "We played incredible team defense during the second half."
Saint Mary's will play at Hope, ranked number one in the conference, on Wednesday night. Hope has only one loss this season. For the Belles, they hope to carry Sunday's intensity through the week.
"We had so much fire in our bellies [Sunday]. We were real intense," said Dineen.
All Sports Stories for Monday, February 4, 2002