Women's Basketball Held Off at Eastern Kentucky
RICHMOND, Ky. – The Belmont women's basketball team (2-8) was unable to capitalize on a strong first half performance and was held off down the stretch on Tuesday night. The Bruins fell to future Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Kentucky, 60-46, on the road.
The opening three minutes were a fast and furious flurry of baskets on both ends of the court. The Bruins saw baskets from seniors Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.) and Cacy Burtnett (Cleveland, Tenn.) and redshirt junior Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn.) to put BU on top, 11-9, by the 16:45 mark. BU briefly lost its offensive rhythm and saw the Lady Colonels put together a quick 7-0 run to go up, 21-15, with 10:30 left on the clock. The Bruins called timeout to regroup but it would be almost another two minutes before they got their feet under them to stop the streaking Lady Colonels.
Belmont was finally able to emerge from its drought that lasted more than five minutes with a jumper by Nelson in the lane to move BU to within four, 21-17, with just under nine minutes remaining in the half. Two minutes later, a trey from the top of the arc by sophomore Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.) made it a one-point game, 21-20. The Bruins continued to work on both sides of the ball forcing a succession of turnovers before knotting the game at 23 behind a triple by junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) with 5:32 remaining, before continuing to roll. The Lady Colonels went ice cold from the floor, netting only one field goal over the span of a jaw dropping nine minutes.
BU continued to pile on the points using shots by Brooks, Visbeen and a pair at the charity stripe by freshman Adrienne Tarrence (Bowling Green, Ky.) growing its lead to six, 26-32. EKU finally broke the ice from its rim in the final 50 seconds of regulation but strong Bruin defense kept the team squarely ahead, taking a 32-28 lead into the locker room.
After the break, the Bruins struggled early to find that offensive rhythm that carried them through the first half. EKU used the drought to its advantage and briefly took the lead in the contest, 33-32, by the 16:57 mark. The Bruins were sparked by a huge turnover and the game turned into the Haley Nelson show. She netted 10 consecutive points for Belmont to put the Bruins on top, 42-41, with 11:24 remaining on the clock. Suddenly, BU went icy from the floor.
The Lady Colonels took advantage and slowly but surely worked to build a double digit lead, 54-42, with 4:32 remaining, the first of the game for either team during the entire contest. Finally, Belmont got its rim to loosen up with 3:41 remaining in regulation. Nelson was fouled driving to the basket and went on to net both at the line, snapping the drought that had ticked into its seventh minute. Her free throws made it a 10-point game, 54-44, with 1:51 left but that would be as close as the Bruins would come as they continued to struggle from the floor. Nelson, who netted all of BU's second half points, and the Lady Colonels traded baskets in the final 30 seconds but it would not be enough. EKU went on to take the contest, 60-46.
Eastern Kentucky shot 41.8 percent from the floor, 76.9 percent from the free-throw line, and 44.4 percent from three-point range. The Lady Colonels held the advantage in rebounds, 43-34, and blocks, 6-2.
EKU was led in scoring by Marie Carpenter, who recorded 15 points. Also reaching double digits were Jade Barber and Alex Jones, who each scored 12. Jones grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.
Belmont shot 30.5 percent from the hardwood, 54.5 percent from the charity stripe and 20 percent from behind the three-point arc. The Bruins held the advantage in assists, 13-8. The teams were tied with seven steals each.
Nelson led the Bruins with a game and season-high 22 points. Burtnett, Ernst, and Nelson pulled down five rebounds apiece. Brooks and Tarrence each finished with four assists.
Belmont returns to action on Thursday, December 15. The Bruins travel to in-state rival Chattanooga for their final non-conference road game of the season. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT. The contest can be heard live via the internet on the Bruins Sports Network and live stats will be available.