CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – On a night where shots weren't falling as usual, Belmont women's basketball pulled out a gutty win over Southeast Missouri in the Ohio Valley Conference opener Thursday evening inside the Show Me Center. The Bruins used a season-best performance from senior Sally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) to sneak past the Redhawks, 67-57.
McCabe posted 22 points, edging her previous season-best mark by a tally. She went 10-for-16 from the field, tying a career-best in field goals made. The Mt. Juliet, Tenn. native was joined by two additional double-figure performances with 14 from junior forward Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wisc.) and 10 from sophomore forward Maddie Wright (Chattanooga, Tenn.). While the trio powered the Bruins offense, junior Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) held it down on the defensive end with 11 rebounds. Roy also dished out eight assists.
SEMO (5-8, 0-1) looked to Adrianna Murphy (14 points, 5 assists) and Tesia Thompson (10 points) much of the night. The Redhawks had three other players register at least eight points. The Bruins (11-3, 1-0) held them to just 34 percent from the field, only making one three in the contest.
Both squads got out to a slow start in the first four minutes of the game, combining for just seven total points as Belmont held a narrow, 5-2, lead. The Redhawks struck first with a jumper before the Bruins retaliated with a 7-0 run in the midst of a five-minute scoreless span for SEMO. Six first quarter turnovers hindered BU from separating itself as Southeast Missouri held on to a 15-13 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.
The second quarter had a similar feel in the early goings as both Belmont and SEMO suffered a two-minute scoreless stretch. The Bruins took control from there, hitting three consecutive shots from beyond the arc to go up, 24-19, on the Redhawks. Wright drained three consecutive field goals, including two from three-pointer range, for eight second quarter points. Rookie Caitlyn Yost put a cherry on top of the half after getting fouled beyond the arc with less than a second left on the clock. The guard sunk all three free throws to put BU ahead, 32-23, at the intermission.
Wright is perfect from the floor after the first half, going 4-for-4 from the field, including two threes!— Belmont WBasketball (@BelmontWBB) December 29, 2017
After scoring six points in the first half, McCabe got hot in the second scoring 16 points over the course of two quarters. She got the Bruins out to a quick start in the third, accounting for their first four points on back-to-back layups. E. Harmeyer proved to be clutch all night as she halted a Redhawk run with her third three-pointer of the night with 6:18 left in the stanza to put BU up 10, 39-29. Junior guard Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) drained her sole trey of the night directly following E. Harmeyer's as Belmont continued to try and distance themselves from Southeast Missouri. Maggard's trey would be one of Belmont's last field goals of the third as the team struggled to find the bottom of the net for the final 3:45. SEMO mounted a 6-0 run to cut Belmont's advantage to five, 46-41.
McCabe continued to light it up in the fourth, scoring 10 points in the quarter alone. Yost finished the night perfect at the line, hitting two more free throws as she tallied eight points. E. Harmeyer found McCabe for a pair of quick layups before the team once again hit a drought. E. Harmeyer ended the lull with her career-best fourth trey to secure BU's 67-57 victory over SEMO.
E. Harmeyer to McCabe inside for an easy bucket! Belmont holding 56-49 advantage over SEMO with 7:01 remaining in the game.— Belmont WBasketball (@BelmontWBB) December 29, 2017
Belmont concludes its three-game road stint at UT Martin on Saturday, Dec. 30. The Bruins and Skyhawks are scheduled for a 4 p.m. tip inside the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.