Collective Effort Gives Women's Basketball Second Consecutive A-Sun Win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont women's basketball team (6-8, 3-2 A-Sun) used a complete attack on both sides of the ball to extend its win streak to two games on Saturday afternoon at the Curb Event Center. The Bruins breezed by visiting North Florida (2-11, 0-4 A-Sun), 65-48, to improve to 3-2 in the Atlantic Sun.
The Bruins opened the first half with a 7-0 run courtesy of a triple from junior Cacy Burtnett (Cleveland, Tenn.) and followed by back-to-back jumpers from her classmate Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.). UNF finally notched its first points of the game after more than four minutes had ticked off the clock and worked to make it a one-point game, 7-6, barely 60 second later. A triple by senior Shaunda Strayhorn (Dyersburg, Tenn.) put Belmont ahead by four, 10-6, but the Ospreys worked to knot the game at 10 by the 11:49 mark. BU pulled away again using a pair of free throws from Strayhorn and layups from Nelson and sophomore Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) as UNF slipped into a scoring drought that lasted three and a half minutes.
However, the Ospreys were restarted by a pair of back-to-back three pointers by Jadhken Kerr that cut the BU lead to one again, 17-16, but Strayhorn knocked down the back of a pair at the lien to knot the score at 17 on the next possession. The Bruins were able to regain the lead with the help of a trey from sophomore Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) before UNF moved to within one again, 22-21, with 3:09 left on the clock. Suddenly, senior Rachel Swisher (Franklin, Ky.) exploded and opened up a 7-0 run for the Bruins. Her five-point contribution was capped by a put back tip-in by Nelson to send BU to locker room ahead, 29-21.
Just three minutes after the break, the Bruins quickly built their first double digit lead of the game with a Nelson jumper and a pair of free throws from Burtnett. Belmont continued piling on the points and used a 9-1 run to pull away 42-26 by the 12:30 mark. North Florida would use a Juliemay Syquio jumper followed by a Kerr three pointer made it an 11-point game with 11:26 remaining in regulation but that would be as close as the score would come for the rest of the game.
The 12th best three point shooter in NCAA Division I, freshman Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.), drilled a trey left side to expand Belmont's lead to 16, 48-32, with 9:36 left on the clock. The Bruins maintained their comfortable lead down the stretch. Brittany Kirkland hit her only three pointer of the game to move the Ospreys to within 13 five minutes later but the Bruins had an answer for every shot. BU continued to use the clock to its advantage and by the final 60 seconds found itself ahead by 17 after Burtnett's fourth three pointer of the day. A free throw by sophomore Kristin Nash (Stone Mountain, Ga.) with only 30 ticks remaining gave the Bruins their largest lead, 18 points, 65-47. A UNF player was fouled in the final 16 seconds but would only net one of two attempts at the line, giving Belmont the 65-48 victory.
North Florida shot 34.7 percent from the floor, 30.8 percent from three-point range and 55.6 percent from the free-throw line. The Ospreys held the advantage in rebounds, 39-32.
Taylor Smith was the lone UNF player to reach double digits, scoring 14. Syquio led the team in rebounds, grabbing seven.
Belmont shot 38.5 percent from the hardwood, 36.4 percent from behind the three-point arc, and 77.3 percent from the charity stripe. The Bruins held the advantage in assists, 16-7, blocks, 4-1, and steals, 5-1. BU also finished with an NCAA-era low of six turnovers. The win also improved Belmont to 7-3 in the all-time series with the Ospreys.
Nelson led the Bruins with a game-high 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, notching her third double-double of the season. Burtnett added 16 while Strayhorn and Visbeen each contributed 10 points in the effort. Strayhorn also finished with a game-high eight assists. Senior Tereva Moore (Memphis, Tenn.) and Nelson collected two blocks each.
Belmont is back in action on Monday afternoon at the Curb Event Center. Bruins host Jacksonville beginning at 5 p.m. The matchup can be heard live via the internet on the Bruins Sports Network and seen live on ASun.TV. Live stats as well as a live Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available.