Belles looking for a win in final home game of season
By KATIE McVOY
Assistant Sports Editor
There will be some serious traveling going on this Saturday at Angela Athletic facility during the Saint Mary's basketball game.
The traveling, however, will not be taking place on the court. As the Belles make ready to play their final regular season game at home, two plane tickets will be raffled off to fans attending the game.
The Belles, who are looking to improve their MIAA rankings, are hoping that the Comets of Olivet fall.
Saint Mary's (7-14, 1-10 in the MIAA) is hoping to use the drive from an aggressive game against Hope on Wednesday to catapult the team to a victory over an Olivet team (13-8, 5-6 in the MIAA) that stands in 5th place in the MIAA.
"I think they realize how well we can play if we work together and give it 100 percent," Smith said. "We're excited to go play."
"[The win] brought us up a lot," freshman guard Katie Miller. "We were down and now, since we played so well against Hope, it's helped our spirits a lot. We're looking forward to playing Saturday."
With only three games left to play, it's crunch time. Although all MIAA teams are guaranteed a slot in the playoffs, a team's record plays an important part in the team's seed. Smith is looking for a win Saturday to get her team a better seed.
"We came out and played so well on Wednesday and we need this victory to get us back on track," Smith said.
The last time these two teams met, the Comets came away victorious. The Belles are looking to update the record books this week. Post player Kristen Matha only played for 12 minutes at Upton Gymnasium during the Belles last game against Olivet.
Matha is still questionable for play Saturday. She is still suffering from a concussion received during last Saturday's game against Calvin. In addition, the Belles may be missing starting post player Anne Blair. Blair sat out Thursday's practice due to a sore knee. Smith will be starting Kelly Roberts again and pulling Matha off the bench, but the rest of the starting line-up is still undecided.
"We'll definitely go with Kelly Saturday," she said. "The rest of the line-up I'll have to decide after practice tomorrow."
Saint Mary's has been working on aggressive play both offensively and defensively. Wednesday's game showed marked improvement in ball handling and defense, as the Belles held Hope to only 62 points, 10 points lower than its average. The Belles will need that defense to keep Olivet below its 70 point per game average.
"Defensively we'll be working on shutting down the post players," Smith said. "Olivet's leading scorer is a post player and we want to shut her down."
Saint Mary's will be looking at a tough Olivet zone defense on Saturday.
"We've been working on our zone offense," Smith said. "They play full court."
"We're gonna attack their zone," Miller added.
Saturday's home crowd may also play an important role in a victory.
"We're excited to pay [at home] again," Smith said. "We hope to see a big crowd and send Julie off on a good note."
Senior guard Julie Norman will be playing the last home game of her college career this Saturday.
All Sports Stories for Friday, February 9, 2001