Women's Basketball Held Off Down the Stretch by Indiana in Home Opener
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --
The Belmont women's basketball team (0-4) trimmed a 15 point deficit down to three but was unable to hold off visiting Indiana (2-1) on Friday night in the Curb Event Center. The Hoosiers went on to take the contest, 63-52, handing the Bruins their fourth loss of the season.
After the Hoosiers opened with back-to-back jumpers, the Bruins got hot offensively and pushed for an early 8-4 lead after triples by senior Cacy Burtnett (Cleveland, Tenn.) and sophomore Julianne Downs (Franklin, Tenn.), and a skyhook by classmate Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.). Indiana briefly regained the lead before senior Tristan Daniel (Waynesboro, Tenn.) drove through the paint for a lay-in to knot the score at 13 with 10:58 left on the clock.
The teams fell into a back and forth battle trading baskets and making quick transitions, knotting the score four times by the five minute mark. Nelson netted a pair at the charity stripe to make it 19 all ninety seconds later. IU took advantage of a Belmont icy scoring spell and put together a 9-2 run to pull away, 28-21, with just 1:15 remaining before the break. The Bruins continued to fire at the basket but could not find the bottom, extending their drought to three minutes. Quaneisha McCurty was fouled with 56 ticks left on the clock and hit one of two at the line for the final point of the half, allowing the Hoosiers to take a 29-21 lead into the locker room.
After the break, IU opened hot, netting back-to-back jumpers to expand its lead to 13, 34-21. The Bruin bench burned a timeout to strategize and came out streaking, forcing two consecutive jump balls with a strong defensive effort. Nelson snapped Belmont's scoring drought that tipped into it sixth minute with a jumper in the paint to trim Indiana's lead to 11. BU continued to lean on Nelson's work inside to get them back into the contest through the middle of the second stanza. Freshman Amara Mayers (Harvest, Ala.) drilled the Bruins' first three pointer of the half from the left corner to move the team to within 10, 42-32, with just over 10 and a half minutes left in the half.
Mayers' trey sparked Belmont and classmate Adrienne Tarrence (Bowling Green, Ky.) drove into traffic and scored on the next possession, bringing Bruin fans to their feet. Tarrence came up with a steal and junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) netted a skyhook to begin chipping away at the IU lead. Downs rainbowed a trey from the right corner to move the Bruins to within five, 47-42, with 5:52 left on the clock. Nelson would tally four more points from the floor to close the gap to only three points, 49-46, barely a minute and a half later. However, Indiana would counterattack and go on an 11-2 run to pull away, 59-48, with only 1:10 left in regulation. It would not be until the final 20 seconds that Belmont would find the bottom of the net, courtesy of a Burtnett lay-in. Ten seconds later, IU answered with its own lay-in and despite Daniel netting the final points of the contest from the free-throw line, it would not be enough. The Hoosiers were able to hold on for the 63-52 victory.
Indiana shot 35.7 percent from the floor, 45.5 percent from the free-throw line and 21.4 percent from three-point range. The Hoosiers held the advantage in rebounds, 55-41, assists, 12-11, blocks, 8-6, and steals, 12-7.
Belmont shot 28.3 percent from the floor, a hot 81.3 percent from the charity stripe and 25 percent from behind the three-point arc. The Bruins forced 17 Indiana turnovers.
Nelson recorded her third double-double of the season with a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. Burtnett and Downs contributed eight points apiece in the effort. Tarrence, Burtnett, and Mayers each collected six boards. Tarrence also finished with a game-high four assists while Nelson added a game-high three blocks and three steals.
Belmont returns to the road for a contest at Ohio on Wednesday, November 23. Game time is set for 6 p.m. The game can be heard live on the Bruins Sports Network and live stats will be available.