Women's Basketball Knocks Off Kennesaw State for First A-Sun Win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Catapulted by a strong second half performance, the Belmont women's basketball team (2-6, 1-0 A-Sun) notched its first Atlantic Sun victory of the season on Thursday night in the Curb Event Center. The Bruins defeated visiting Kennesaw State (2-4, 0-1 A-Sun), 57-55, to earn their second win of the season.
Both teams struggled for a span of three minutes combining for 10 missed shots from varying ranges on the hardwood. The Owls were the first to break the ice off the rim with a three-point play by Kristina Wells, making it a 7-3 game with 15:43 remaining on the clock. Just over one minute later, the Bruins broke a four minute scoring drought with freshman Adrienne Tarrence (Bowling Green, Ky.) converting her first three-point play of the season to keep the margin at four points. However, by the 11:30 mark, KSU was able to expand its lead to as many as eight, 16-8, using shots at the free-throw line. Suddenly, the Owls' collective shooting hands went frigid, opening the door for the Bruins to wage a comeback.
Taking advantage of an icy KSU rim, Belmont put together an 8-2 run behind shots by junior transfer Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn.), senior Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.) and freshman Amara Mayers (Harvest, Ala.), to pull within two, 16-14, with 7:53 remaining. Suddenly, the contest turned into the Katie Brooks show as she netted a pair at the charity stripe and followed with a steal and a lay-in to close the gap to one point, 19-18, barely 30 seconds later. The Owls began fighting back, rebuilding their lead to as many as seven, 27-20, by the 3:29 mark. A free-throw by freshman Torie Vaught (Maryville, Tenn.) and a layup by Nelson trimmed the lead to four in the final 90 seconds but Taylor Mills drilled her third triple of the half to send the teams to the locker rooms separated by seven, 30-23.
Junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) opened the second half with a pair of three pointers and Nelson followed with a skyhook to put the Bruins on top, 31-29, for their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. The combination of strong defense and poor shooting by the Owls that lasted more than five minutes helped Belmont expand its lead to seven, 43-36, with the help of a trey by sophomore Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.) at the 10:30 mark.
Kennesaw State began chipping away at the BU lead, taking advantage of being in the double bonus midway through the half and by the 7:12 mark had closed the gap to two points, 49-47 after a 7-2 run. The teams traded baskets before a jumper by Wells locked the game at 52 with 4:03 remaining in regulation, marking only the second tie since 2-2 in the opening minutes. Thirty seconds later, Tarrence netted a jumper in the lane despite being fouled and was able to complete the three-point play to put Belmont back on top. Another successful trip to the line by KSU made it a one point game, 55-54, but time was running short as it attempted to regain the lead.
The Owl bench burned back-to-back timeouts and used a free throw to lock the game in its third tie of the night at 55 with 44.5 ticks remaining in regulation. Brooks drove through the lane and netted a jumper with 20 seconds left and the Owls called another timeout 10 seconds later. KSU looked to its long range shooter Mills for a game winner at the buzzer but Tarrence got a hand on the shot to deflect it, giving Belmont the 57-55 win.
KSU shot 27.7 percent from the floor, 63.2 percent from the free-throw line, and 33.3 percent from three-point range. The Owls held the narrow advantage in rebounds, 47-42, blocks, 6-3, and steals, 9-8.
Kennesaw State was led in scoring by Taylor Mills, who netted a game-high 15 points. Sametria Gideon led the team in rebounds with a game-high 14.
Belmont shot 38.2 percent from the hardwood, 63.2 percent from the charity stripe, and 30 percent from behind the three-point arc. The Bruins held the advantage in assists, 9-8.
Nelson led BU in scoring, netting 14 points, followed by Brooks, who added 10 points. Pulling down nine rebounds each were Nelson, who was one rebound short of her fourth double-double of the season, and freshman Torie Vaught (Maryville, Tenn.).
Belmont returns to action on Saturday afternoon at the Curb Event Center. The Bruins host Mercer beginning at 2 p.m. The contest can be seen live on ASun.TV and heard live via the internet on the Bruins Sports Network. A live Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available.