Saint Mary's unable to hold on to first-half lead for win
By KATIE MCVOY
Assistant Sports Editor
They came for the shirts, but stayed for the game. A BOG promotion offering free T-shirts to fans attending Wednesday night's Saint Mary's basketball game brought fans to Angela Athletic Facility, but it was phenomenal first-half play during a 62-46 loss to Hope that kept fans at the game.
The Belles, who have been without a complete team since early January, returned all of their players to the court. They led halfway through the first half by as much as six, and only trailed Hope by six at the half.
"We looked like a team," head coach Suzanne Smith said of first half play. "We really played together."
Hope head coach Brian Morehouse mixed it up on the court, bringing in players off the bench almost as soon as the game started.
Smith used her bench as well.
Sophomore post player Kristen Matha, still recovering from a concussion she received during Saturday's game, freshman guard Katie Miller, junior Jaime Dineen and freshman Leigh Ann Matesich all made an appearance early in the first half.
"We were trying to match up with them," Smith said. "It gave us some different opportunities to play people."
As a team, the Belles have had some recent trouble getting inside on offense. Wednesday that was not the case.
Roberts led the Belles scoring drive with a short 2-point jumper. Matha joined in and worked the ball inside as well, totaling eight points for the team.
"We had made it clear that we had to play aggressive tonight," Smith said.
At halftime, Saint Mary's trailed 35-29. Strong offensive and defensive play kept the Belles with the Flying Dutch, but they just couldn't keep up the intensity during the second half.
"We haven't had a full practice in a long time because players have been out with injuries and illness," Smith said. "That probably accounts for why some of the women looked winded during the game."
To start off the second half, the Flying Dutch went on an 11-point scoring streak that the Belles only answered with two points.
Hope scored 10 points from the foul line in the second half while Saint Mary's scored only two.
Hope picked up its game, and made sure it would bring home itself one game closer to a 20-win season.
"They picked up their defense," Smith said. "Their zone really left us standing there."
Even though the Belles lost, Smith is hoping the first half play will encourage her team.
"This is definitely a boost," she said. "We're really excited for who's left on our schedule."
Saint Mary's will take on Olivet on Saturday at home.
All Sports Stories for Thursday, February 8, 2001