Second Half Rally Falls Short at Jacksonville for Women's Basketball
JACKSONVILLE, FL. – The Belmont women's basketball team (7-16, 4-10 A-Sun) rebounded from being down in the first half to nearly pick up its first win in seven tries on the road at Jacksonville (10-11, 5-7 A-Sun) on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, the Bruins fell short in the waning minutes, falling to the Dolphins, 68-57.
The first stanza opened with a brief back and forth battle before Jacksonville was able to pull away by five, 12-7, six minutes in. The shorthanded Bruins were able to regain ground with a jumper from senior Rachel Swisher (Franklin, Ky.) and a pair at the charity stripe by sophomore Kristin Nash (Stone Mountain, Ga.) but the Dolphins continued to add to their early tally. By the eight minute mark, JU had grown its lead to 11, 22-11.
Belmont slipped into a dry spell offensively that lasted more than five and a half minutes before junior Tristan Daniel (Waynesboro, Tenn.) netted a jumper in the paint to get the team back in the game. Suddenly, the Bruins woke up offensively. Senior Tereva Moore (Memphis, Tenn.) would knock down the second of a pair at the stripe before freshman Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.) drilled her first three pointer of the day. Senior Shaunda Strayhorn (Dyersburg, Tenn.) was fouled on a lay-up attempt and she was able to find the bottom of the net with her second free throw and Swisher banged in a shot from behind the three-point arc. The offensive flurry moved the Bruins to within eight, 29-21, with 1:41 remaining before the teams headed into the locker rooms. However, Jacksonville was able to quickly rebuild its double digit lead using steals on inbounds plays. Belmont would net the final basket of the half with Moore tossing it up under the basket with 12.7 ticks to send the team Bruins into the break down by 13, 36-23.
BU came out of the halftime break, firing on all cylinders, forcing a turnover with JU's very first possession of the half. A jumper from Moore and another triple from the top of arc by Ernst closed the gap to 15, 43-28, and the Bruin bench called a timeout to strategize. Jacksonville began to pull away again despite three consecutive trips to the charity stripe by Moore that yielded three points to make the score 48-32 by the 12 minute mark.
The Bruins began chipping away at the Jacksonville lead, sparked by a jumper from sophomore Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) and a three pointer from Moore to narrow the gap to 11, 57-46, with 6:10 remaining on the clock. Belmont continued to hustle to move within striking distance in the waning minutes of the contest. Ernst nailed her fourth three pointer of the afternoon and Daniel followed with a pair at the free-throw line with 3:03 left in the game. Moore battled through the paint to add two more points one minute later and Belmont called its final time out to salvage its comeback efforts. Unfortunately, the Dolphins stepped up their defensive efforts and senior Whitney Seals' (Raceland, Ky.) jumper from the right elbow that moved BU to within seven, 64-57, with 1:11 left would be as close as it would come. Jacksonville tallied four more points from three trips to the free-throw line to take the contest, 68-57.
Jacksonville shot 42.4 percent from the floor, 30.8 percent from three-point range and 70 percent from the free-throw line. The Dolphins held the narrow advantage in assists, 15-14, blocks, 4-3, and steals, 9-8.
Ashanti Williams led JU with a game-high 20 points. Taneskei Richardson picked up a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and Lynsey Pascal rounded out the double digit scorers with 12.
Belmont shot 30.2 percent from the hardwood, 29.2 percent from behind the three-point arc and 70.6 percent from the charity stripe. The Bruins held the advantage in rebounds, 41-38, marking the ninth time this season they grabbed 40 or more boards.
Moore led the Bruins in scoring with 16 points. She also notched her second career double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds. Ernst contributed 14 points in the effort while Strayhorn and Visbeen each added six. Ernst also finished with a team and career-high four assists.
Belmont returns to action on the road on Saturday for a matchup at North Florida. Tip time is slated for 3:30 p.m. CT. The game can be seen live on ASun.TV and heard live via the internet on the Bruins Sports Network. Live stats and a Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available.