NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont women's basketball got out to a fast start that would prove to be enough to hold off Tennessee Tech Thursday night inside the Curb Event Center. A season-best 23 points and six blocks from senior center Sally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) helped the Bruins rout the Golden Eagles, 78-59.
BU moves to 13-3 on the season and 3-0 in OVC play to mark its 28th consecutive conference win, the second longest streak in the nation. Aside from McCabe, three additional Bruins recorded double-digit performances as well. Junior Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) poured in 17 points, while Maddie Wright (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) followed close behind with 14 and 12 points, respectively. For the fourth game in a row, Roy spearheaded Belmont's assists with seven. Collectively, the squad shot 51 percent from the field and outrebounded the Golden Eagles, 32-30.
TTU (3-11, 0-3) looked to Mackenzie Coleman (17 points), Jordan Brock (16 points) and Yaktavia Hickson (11 points) to power its offensive production. Coleman finished the night with a double-double also collecting 11 boards. The team went 22-for-54 from the field with eight threes.
Belmont took control of the game out of the gates, holding Tennessee Tech to just seven points in the first quarter. The Bruins propelled themselves to a 13-3 run in the first four minutes of the game with McCabe accounting for eight. They refused to let up, tallying 17 points in a span where the Golden Eagles could only find the bottom of the net once. McCabe finished the first quarter with eight points, while Maggard put up seven as BU took a 27-7 advantage into the second stanza.
McCabe opened the second quarter with her second swat of the game at the 8:54 mark, moving her to second all-time in the Ohio Valley Conference record book with 224 career blocks. The Bruins continued their high paced tempo, scoring seven unanswered points in the opening three minutes. Maggard pushed their lead to 13 points, 38-15, with her third trey of the evening in the latter half of the frame before TTU started to find a rhythm. The Golden Eagles drained back-to-back shots from three-point range to end a two-minute scoring drought. However, their efforts came a little too late as Belmont led, 42-23, at the break.
Tennessee Tech held the edge in the third frame, outscoring the Bruins 18-16, but the Bruins advantage proved to be too much. McCabe was responsible for Belmont's first six points of the quarter. TTU spurted out to a 9-2 run in the opening minutes, but a three-pointer from Wright temporarily cooled the Golden Eagles offense. They continued to try and claw their way back into the game, but a two-minute scoreless span to end the stanza halted TTU's hopes of finding its way back in the game as BU was ahead, 58-41.
Maggard beats the third quarter buzzer with a jumper to add to the Belmont lead! pic.twitter.com/txicIqHcZN— Belmont WBasketball (@BelmontWBB) January 5, 2018
The final quarter capped off Belmont's fourth consecutive victory with the help of seven points from Roy. The Brentwood, Tenn. native hit one from afar and sunk a pair of layups to become the fourth Bruin to trigger a double-digit performance. Moments later McCabe sunk her fourth free throw to register her season-best 23rd point with 6:23 remaining in the game. From then on BU went 6-for-8 from the field to secure a 78-59 victory over Tennessee Tech.
Belmont hosts Jacksonville State on Saturday, Jan. 6 inside the Curb Event Center. The Bruins and Gamecocks are slated for a 3 p.m. tip with the men's teams following.