Free Throw Frenzy Leads Women's Basketball Past Tennessee Tech
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A strong performance at the charity stripe helped the Belmont women's basketball team pick up its second consecutive win on the road Saturday. The Bruins (9-14, 6-4 OVC), who only trailed once, pushed for a 69-56 win over in-state rival Tennessee Tech (8-14, 5-4 OVC) to improve to 6-4 in the OVC.
The Bruins dominated the opening minutes on both sides of the ball. Junior Katie Carroll (Lilburn, Ga.) drilled a triple from the top of the arc on Belmont's first possession and redshirt freshman Frankie Joubran (Detroit, Mich.) followed with three points the hard way to give Belmont a lead it would never relinquish throughout the contest. By the 16 minute mark, BU had grabbed its first double digit lead, 15-4, behind another trey by Carroll.
By the 11 and a half minute mark, the Bruins saw their aggressive play pay off and found themselves in the double bonus, where they easily added to their point tally, led by junior Adrienne Tarrence (Bowling Green, Ky.). Belmont continued to pour on the points, expanding its lead to as many as 18, 29-11, after a trifecta and pair of free throws by junior Taylor Mills (Corryton, Tenn.).
Suddenly the Golden Eagles turned up the heat around the four minute mark, increasing its defensive pressure and forcing a series of BU turnovers. TTU put together a run that closed the gap to eight points, 29-21, with 3:40 remaining on the clock. However, BU was able to thwart the rally with a combination of steady play on both sides of the ball and tremendous clock management in the waning minutes. Belmont went on to rebuild its double digit advantage on free throws by Tarrence and Mills and work at the rim by Carroll and classmate Jordyn Luffman (Lawrenceburg, Tenn.). Up by 13, 36-23, with just under two minutes before the teams headed to their respective locker rooms, the Bruins clamped down defensively and prevented Tennessee Tech from scoring for the remainder of the half, taking that same point advantage into halftime.
After the break, TTU used a three pointer to immediately trim the differential to 10, 36-26, but Tarrence answered swiftly with a free-throw after driving for a layup to maintain BU's breathing room. Belmont blew its lead up to 18 point again, 45-27, by the 11:32 mark but the Golden Eagles continued to battle down the stretch.
BU continued to play smart ball throughout the second stanza, wisely using the clock and continuing to find the bottom of the net. Tennessee Tech fell into another icy spell, this one lasting almost four minutes as the Bruins expanded their lead to 18 again, 58-40, after two more at the stripe by Tarrence and a great fast break rally allowed sophomore Katherine Zander (Orange Park, Fla.) to add her first points of the night off a feed by junior Taylor Mills (Corryton, Tenn.).
The Golden Eagles attempted to rally in the final three minutes of regulation but was only able to inch as close as 14 as the clock moved towards expiration. BU maintained its 18-point differential right up until the final buzzer when TTU netted a trey but it was too little too late as Belmont cruised to the 69-56 win.
Tennessee Tech shot 39.6 percent from the floor, 25 percent from three-point range and 60 percent from the free-throw line. The Golden Eagles held the advantage in blocks, 5-0.
TTU saw three players in double digits – Diamond Henderson and Hannah Goolsby with 12 points apiece and Candace Parson with 11. Parson led the team in rebounds with eight.
Belmont shot 33.3 percent from the hardwood, 23.8 percent from behind the three-point arc and a blistering 88.2 percent from the charity stripe.
For the fifth time this season, four Bruins reached double figures. Tarrence led with a game-high 14 points, after a 12-for-12 performance at the stripe. She also had a game-high five assists and four steals. Carroll added 13 points, followed by Joubran with 12 and Mills with 10. Joubran pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
Belmont continues its road trip on Monday, facing off at Morehead State. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. CT. Fans can watch the game live on the OVC Digital Network and can listen to Dr. Rich Tiner on the play-by-play call on the Bruins Sports Network. Live stats and an in-game Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available.