NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont women's basketball battled to the very end, but was ultimately outpaced by Wright State Monday night inside the Curb Event Center. The Bruins fell to the Raiders, 91-81, dropping their first home game of the season and just their second home loss in 33 contests.
Senior guard Kylee Smith (Alpharetta, Ga.) charged the Bruins, pouring in 26 points while going 6-for-6 at the line and collecting eight boards. Smith was joined by Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) who compiled 19 points and six assists and Sally McCabe's (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) 14 points and three blocks.
Wright State was powered by a trio of double-digit outings from Chelsea Welch (29 points), Emily Vogelpohl (21 points) and Lexi Smith (17 points). Smith also added 10 boards to her line for a double-double, while Welch dished out six assists. The Raiders went 9-for-12 from long range while shooting 54 percent from the floor.
Both squads came out of the gates blazing hot and didn't let up for the first 20 minutes of play. The Bruins went 5-for-7 from the field in the middle of the first stanza to extend their lead to as many as eight before the Raiders fought their way back into the game. WSU came within two points, 13-11, but Maggard halted the run with the squad's first trey of the game. Wright State had an answer of its own, scoring six unanswered points to take its first advantage of the game, 17-16. However, McCabe ensured Belmont take a one-point lead into the second stanza by rejecting back-to-back shots. Maggard hit a pull up jumper to put BU ahead, 18-17, as time expired.
The second stanza mirrored the first as both teams combined for 57 points in the 10-minute frame. McCabe sunk a pair of jumpers with the second coming courtesy of junior guard Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wisc.) to keep the Bruins up. The Raiders mounted another 6-0 run before Smith converted an and-1 play that tied the game up, 31-31, with 4:46 left in the half. Rookie guard Caitlyn Yost (Lewisburg, Tenn.) drained a clutch three to once again give BU the lead with only a few minutes remaining. Belmont's impressive 5-for-6 performance from the field to close out the half was edged by a 6-for-6 mark from Wright State to put the Raiders up, 47-45, at the break.
AND-1! Smith converts the three point play to tie it back up! pic.twitter.com/V1hQg9JZ7s— Belmont WBasketball (@BelmontWBB) December 19, 2017
Wright State opened the second half on a 9-1 run that would plague Belmont for the remainder of the game, despite scoring 20 points in the frame. It took the Bruins nearly five minutes to hit their first field goal of the stanza, but were sustained by a 5-for-6 performance from the charity stripe in the early goings. Maggard sparked BU's offense with her second bucket from beyond the arc. Senior guard Sierra Jones (Huntsville, Ala.) road off the momentum, collecting a steal and hitting the fast break to make it a five-point game, 64-59, narrowly in favor of the Raiders. While the Bruins got hot, WSU had an answer for nearly everything to carry a 75-65 advantage into the final quarter.
The Bruins found a way to slow WSU down in the fourth, holding them to 16 points – their lowest total of the game. Despite quieting WSU, Belmont was only able to tally 16 points of their own to drop their first home game of the season.
Belmont heads to neighborhood rival Vanderbilt on Thursday, Dec. 21 to conclude its nonconference slate. Tipoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. inside the Commodores Memorial Gymnasium.