Accuracy puts Belle basketball as top team to beat

Rambelles break scoring records for the first time in over a decade

By Alana Edgin
On January 21, 2016

Photo by Summer Almaguer
KeAnna Kelly pushes past the defense and makes her way to the basket.

After the destruction of Arlington Baptist University’s Lady Patriots back on Nov. 17 with a score of 108-67, Rambelle basketball proved to be a contender in this year’s Lone Star Conference.

With a win/loss record of 9-18 for the 2014-2015 season, the team had a lot to prove. Game after game, the Belles showed a complete turnaround from last season and proved that this will be a completely different Belle team.

“Angelo State, for some reason, hasn’t had a target on them for a long time,” Head Coach Kevin Baker said. “So the fact that we are putting a target on our back is pretty neat.”

Not only have the Belles improved their win/loss to 10-5, they also broke a record in their first game of the season. This was the first time since 2000 that theteam reached over 100 points in one game, and only the eighth team in program history. Baker attributes this success to recruiting. Brea Mitchell a senior guard transfer from the University of New Mexico was newly crowned Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Week and has made a strong impact on the team.

“[Brea Mitchell] is a special player,” Baker said. “She assumed the leadership role mainly with her play and the others are falling in line.”

Going in to conference play, the Belles had already racked up seven wins. When they faced Tarleton in the conference opener on Jan. 6, despite losing 94-65, they set themselves up as a good percentage shooting team. From the free-throw line the team hit 85% and has continuously built their reputation as solid shooters.

“So much of winning and losing comes down to two things; rebounds and free throws and it’s something that we talk about all the time,” Baker said. “I told our team at the beginning of the year that they could be one of the best free throw shooting teams I’ve ever had. I think it’s one of our strengths and people know if they foul us, we can punish them from the free throw line.”

This stellar shooting percentage played a key role in taking down the no. 1 team West Texas A&M University Buffs on Jan. 13. The Belles may not have been on the LSC radar, but by beating the Buffs they have certainly made an impression.

“I told them, now you guys have done it,” Baker said. “There’s no nights off now for you because now you’ve shown what you can do.”

Most teams would have celebrated a win like that as soon as the buzzer went off, but the Belles kept their cool according to Baker.

“One of the things we told them at half time was when the horn goes off and we beat them, don’t celebrate, don’t jump up and down, don’t act like you won the championship,” Baker said. “It’s business as usual for us. It was a big win, and they know that. I thought they handled it pretty well for upsetting the number one team.”

Belle basketball has decided to build on this win and not rest on their laurels. They knew everyone in the LSC was watching to see how they would react to taking down such a big competitor. With all the eyes on them hitting the road to face Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds on Jan. 16, it was sure to add pressure to the team. The Belles not only built on their win by adding the Greyhounds to their win streak, but beat them by 18 points with a final score of 79-61.

Against the Greyhounds, Mitchell hit her third consecutive game in double digit points with 13. The starters had some foul trouble and the bench had their chance to shine in the second and third quarters. Returning senior post Diamalises Rivera led the team in points with 19, and with the rest of the bench, they pulled together 41 points. This showed future opponents that not only are the starters dangerous, but the bench pulls their weight.

“We can really score, which is nice,” Baker said. “There’s just not any nights off in this league. It hasn’t always been that way in the Lone Star Conference, but it is now.

Baker believes college basketball is supposed to be the team who plays the best wins. If a team can go into someone else’s gym and beat them by 30 every night, that’s not fun. For Baker every possession is supposed to be monumental, and just like the Belles this season, monumental might be just the right description.

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