Belles to take on conference rival Albion
By KATIE MCVOY
The Saint Mary's basketball team hopes that injury and illness will not prevent a win against Albion College tonight.
"The injuries and illness during the last week should not be a big problem during the game," sophomore center Kelly Roberts said. "We're hoping we can still go out and play our best."
During the past week of practice, the Belles have been hit hard with injury and illness. Starting forward Kristen Matha, is the Belles' biggest worry. She left last Saturday's game with a leg injury, but has been given the go-ahead to play.
In addition to Matha's injury, Saint Mary's has been short three players during this week's practices. Roberts has been out with an injury, and sophomore guard Anne Blair and sophomore center Kelly Jones have been ill. All three seem to have recovered and the Belles hope they can play hard in tonight's game.
"We want to go out there, suck it up and play hard for 40 minutes," Roberts said.
Despite the problems they faced in practice this week, the Belles say they are confident that they can beat the Britons.
"We think we have a really good shot," Jones said. "All we have to do is play hard and keep up the intensity."
The Belles are looking for the victory to keep team motivation high.
"A win against Albion would be very big," Roberts said. "Another victory would boost our confidence. The more wins we have the more confident the team will be."
The win would also help the Belles in the MIAA rankings. The Britons are in sixth place in the MIAA with a league record of 5-8 and an overall record of 10-11. They are coming off of a 70-43 loss to first-ranked Hope College this past Saturday. Saint Mary's is in eighth place in the MIAA with a league record of 2-11, two places behind Albion.
"A win tomorrow would help our MIAA rankings," Roberts said. "We need to start winning against other conference teams, and winning against Albion would be a big step."
Tonight's contest should prove to be a close one. Saint Mary's and Albion are evenly matched teams. The Belles score 54 points per game on average, while Albion scores 57, and both teams average around 37 rebounds a game.
The last time Saint Mary's and Albion met the Britons were victorious, winning 65-52.
"The last time we played Albion it came down to the last five minutes of the game," Jones said. "They picked up the intensity and we lost the motivation. We have been working on keeping the intensity, however, and we want to keep it up throughout all of tonight's game."
Rebounding will continue to be key to the Belles. During the two games that Saint Mary's won, the team controlled the rebound and is looking to do the same against Albion.
"We are going to have to dominate the boards and keep the turnovers down," Jones said. "We match up in size with Albion so it's going to come down to our skill."
The Belles face the Britons at 7:30 p.m. in Angela Athletic Facility.
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, February 9, 2000