RICHMOND, Ky. – For a third game in a row, the Belmont women's basketball team connected on more than half of its shots, and for the third game in a row the Bruins picked up a crucial Ohio Valley Conference victory.
The Bruins shot their way to an 87-52 win over Eastern Kentucky at McBrayer Arena on Thursday, the latest offensive explosion from a team that's beginning to hit its stride. Belmont fired at a 50.7-percent (34-of-67) clip from the field in moving to 10-1 in OVC play (17-5 overall).
That outstanding shooting follows games of 51.7 percent and 54.7 percent, respectively. Every 50-percent shooting performance for Belmont this season has come in the past three games.
"We've worked a lot on our offense recently," explained junior Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wis.), who scored a game-high 17 points. "It wasn't meshing as well at the beginning of the year and I feel like since the start of conference, we've started to work together better. We're playing really good basketball right now."
Belmont started each half Thursday with a flourish, jumping out to a 14-2 lead in the game's opening moments and starting the third quarter on an equally impressive 13-2 run. That second stretch, which put the Bruins ahead 55-26, clinched what was already feeling imminent: Belmont's 10th win of its OVC slate.
"Our movement has picked up; we're not holding the ball much," said freshman Conley Chinn (Jackson, Miss.), who scored 13 points. "I think that just comes from playing together so much. We have an idea of where everybody is, the right cuts to make and how to get open."
Belmont, which is averaging 89.5 points in its last four games, also posted one of its most dominant rebounding performances of the season. The Bruins' 49 boards are its second most of the year – they've reached 50 twice – but BU also held Eastern Kentucky (2-20, 0-11 OVC) to just 28 rebounds.
Senior Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) led the way individually in that category with 12 rebounds, and Harmeyer grabbed 10 more for her ninth double-double of the season. It's just the second time this season the Bruins have had two players in double figures rebounding (Harmeyer 14, Roy 10 vs. Austin Peay on Jan. 26), but they nearly had three. Junior Maddie Wright (Chattanooga, Tenn.) pulled down nine boards to go with her nine points.
"Coach Bart (Brooks) always says that the team that has the higher rebound total usually ends up coming out with a better outcome," Harmeyer said. "That's something we've really taken to heart when we play. It's always one of our keys in every game."
Junior Maura Muensterman (Evansville, Ind.) was second on the court in scoring with 15 points and senior Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) went for another 12 points. Roy added eight points and five assists to her stat line for the day.
Up Next: Belmont remains in first place in the OVC standings headed into its Saturday matchup at Morehead State (18-6, 9-2 OVC). The Bruins topped the Eagles 77-50 in Nashville back in January. This round tips off at 1:05 p.m. (CT).