JONESBORO, Ark. – Belmont women's basketball notched its fifth consecutive win by defeating Arkansas State 83-52 Thursday afternoon at the Convocation Center. Belmont improved to 9-2 on the season behind junior guard Darby Maggard's (Larwill, Ind.) 22-point performance.
Arkansas State (4-5) had two Red Wolves reach the double-digit mark, led by Akasha Westbrook's 15-point and six rebound performance. Starr Taylor added 13 points and three rebounds.
It took both squads a little time to find their shot. Arkansas State recorded the first points of the contest to take an early 2-0 lead. McCabe would quickly tie the game with a field goal, but the Red Wolves pushed ahead and would extend the lead to six. Maggard took the reins and made a field goal and then drained three pointers on back to back trips after the media timeout to give the Bruins their first lead at 12-10. Once the Bruins took the lead, they would not relinquish it for the remainder of the contest. McCabe was outstanding defensively in the first quarter, adding four blocks to her line. Despite being out-rebounded 11-9, the Bruins led 17-12 at the end of the first quarter.
BU picked up right where it left off scoring on the first possession of the second quarter. Arkansas State would try to close the gap going on a five-point run after Belmont's first possession, but Belmont once again responded. Maggard started off a seven-point Belmont run with a trey. Belmont outrebounded the Red Wolves 20-19 in the half, scoring 14 field goals and five three pointers. Belmont led 35-25 at the end of the half.
The Bruins took control of the game coming out of the locker room. Maggard opened the scoring on the Bruins first possession with a quick field goal that ignited the Belmont offense. Belmont kicked off the third quarter with a 17-4 run that forced an Arkansas State timeout. Belmont held the Red Wolves to 10 points in the third quarter which scoring 27 points of their own. Belmont boasted their largest lead of the game at the end of the third, 62-35.
Belmont kept their foot on the gas pedal in the fourth quarter. Smith scored an early field goal to give her yet another double-digit scoring effort. Smith has scored in double-digits in each of Belmont's first 11 games this season, the only Bruin to do so. Freshman Caitlyn Yost (Lewisburg, Tenn.) made her presence known in the final frame, scoring six points. Despite facing a nearly three-minute scoring drought late in the fourth, the Bruins still outscored the Red Wolves 21-17.
Belmont will be back in action on Monday, Dec. 18 at the Curb Event Center to take on Wright State. Tip is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.