JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – It wasn't a fiery halftime speech that got the Belmont women's basketball team going in the second half against Jacksonville State on Thursday. The Bruins' drive to succeed came from within.
Belmont erupted for 40 second-half points after entering the break ahead 24-14, riding the energy from its own locker room to a 64-41 victory at the Gamecocks' Pete Mathews Coliseum. The Bruins' third straight win moves them to 11-5 on the season with a 4-1 mark in Ohio Valley Conference games.
7 Belmont players with 3pointers tonight and 12 overall! Another great day to be a Bruin �� pic.twitter.com/8woQLY08Wd— Belmont WBasketball (@BelmontWBB) January 18, 2019
Belmont Head Coach Bart Brooks applauded his veteran players for their mental toughness that allowed them to withstand the first-half grind and find the second-half payoff.
"I'd love to say that it was a coaching adjustment, but I think it was really a player mindset adjustment," Brooks said. "They refocused, gritted their teeth, bit down on their mouth piece and went out and executed. All the credit to our players and our senior leadership for getting that thing rolling in the second half."
The Bruins came out of intermission firing. The team made five straight baskets on its end – three of them from junior forward Maddie Wright (Chattanooga, Tenn.) in a breakout game – and pulled ahead by nearly 20 points thanks to the quick 12-3 run. Belmont's lead never shrank below 13 points again.
Wright had a 3-pointer and a pair of layups during the burst and scored a game-high 15 points overall. That's one shy of her career best. She also grabbed seven rebounds, a whopping five off the offensive glass.
"Maddie Wright really got going tonight, which is really good to see," Brooks said. "Offensively that's what we've seen all year from her in practice and it's great to see it in a game."
Wright was one of seven Bruins to make a 3-point basket Thursday as Belmont poured in 12 threes from long range. Junior guard Maura Muensterman (Evansville, Ind.) made three and totaled 11 points. She and Wright were the day's only scorers in double figures with Belmont holding JSU (8-8, 2-3 OVC) to under 30 percent shooting from the field and 0-for-9 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Despite a slow offensive day for Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wis.), the junior forward did match a career best with 12 rebounds. Belmont out-rebounded Jacksonville State, 46-36.
The win gives the Bruins a sweep of the season series with the Gamecocks and serves as Belmont's 13th consecutive win against JSU overall.
Up Next: Belmont is back home for a crosstown bout with Tennessee State on Saturday. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. at the Curb Event Center.