LAS VEGAS – Belmont women's basketball put together a gritty performance against No. 14/9 Stanford in the semifinals of the Play4Kay Showcase Friday night at the Mandalay Bay Event Center. The Bruins hung around for the first half before the Cardinal proved to be too much, defeating BU, 74-53.
Junior guard Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) led the way for the Bruins with 13 points as well as a team-high six rebounds. Veteran teammate Kylee Smith (Alpharetta, Ga.) was the only other Bruin to tally double digits with 10 points. Belmont (4-2) drained 11 three-pointers with Maggard sinking three, marking the third time this season that BU has hit at least 10 threes in a game.
Stanford (4-2) relied on junior forward Alanna Smith who posted a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Smith ignited the Cardinal offensive spurt in the third quarter, recording 12 points in 10 minutes. Alexa Romano followed smith with 11 points.
The Bruins didn't let a slow start to the game deter them from taking on the nationally ranked Cardinal squad. Stanford got out to a quick 11-0 lead as Belmont struggled to find an answer in the opening five minutes of the game. The squad then kicked it into gear, hitting four consecutive threes to make it a two-point game at the end of the first stanza.
Smith tied the game up, 18-18, with a layup to start the second quarter. From there both squads traded baskets, including back-to-back treys from Maggard. Stanford once again attempted to separate itself, scoring seven unanswered points to go up, 37-29, with 3:17 left in the half. Junior Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) came up big on Stanford's next possession, rejecting a Cardinal driving to the basket. Maggard hit a jumper on BU's next trip down the floor to spark an 8-0 Bruin run that left the game tied, 37-37, at the half.
Belmont stuck around for the early goings of the third quarter with the help of five consecutive points from Smith who kept the Bruins within striking distance before the Cardinal took control of the game. Stanford held BU to two points over the next 10 minutes while scoring 14 unanswered points to go up by 15 in the third quarter.
Junior guard Maura Muensterman (Evansville, Ind.) broke up Stanford's run with a three at the beginning of the final quarter, but BU would continue to struggle from the field for the remainder of the game. A trey from Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wisc.) and a jumper from Maddie Wright (Chatanooga, Tenn.) sparked BU's offense a little too late as time expired. Collectively, Belmont put up 16 points in the second half after recording nine in the final stanza.
Belmont will take on Florida Gulf Coast Saturday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 pm CT at the Mandalay Bay Event Center.