MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Belmont women's basketball team's 10th straight win was a crucial one in the Ohio Valley Conference standings Saturday.
With a 77-57 victory at Morehead State, the Bruins completed a season sweep of the Eagles and moved to 11-1 in conference games (18-5 overall). Belmont now owns a two-game lead atop the OVC standings over a group that includes recently swept Morehead State (9-3 OVC, 18-7 overall).
"These wins are so important," said Belmont junior Maddie Wright (Chattanooga, Tenn.). "Wherever we go we're going to get everybody's best shot. We just need to keep playing our game."
Belmont's game was on full display in the first quarter. The Bruins made their first five 3-point attempts, three of them coming from senior guard Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.), but MSU showed in the second quarter why it's been a similar front-runner in the OVC this season.
The Eagles limited the Bruins to just five shot attempts in the second frame, but struggled to gain any ground. Despite a massive advantage in shot attempts – 38 to just 19 for Belmont – Morehead State still trailed by six points at the break, 26-20.
The Bruins didn't waste that head start, rallying for 30 points in the third quarter in a performance reminiscent of the last time these two teams met this season. Belmont topped MSU 77-50 in Nashville on Jan. 10 on the strength of a 40-point second half.
The Bruins scored 51 after the break Saturday.
"You've got to credit Morehead State. They are a very scrappy, tough defensive team," Maggard said. "They came out in the second quarter and were really ready to go. I think we let that bump us back a little bit, put us on our heels, but it's a good learning experience. We can't have lapses like that going forward."
After a turnover-filled second quarter, Belmont's halftime adjustments helped the team commit just one in the third quarter.
"We knew we had to come together if we wanted to finish the game strong," Wright added. "It wasn't necessarily changing what we do, but just doing it better. We knew it was there."
Belmont was 15-of-27 shooting 3-pointers on the day, including a three-quarter-court shot from freshman Jamilyn Kinney (Van Buren, Ark.) that beat the third-quarter buzzer. Maggard alone was 6-of-7 shooting from deep and finished with 22 points. Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wis.) was 3-of-3 on threes and finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) added 13 points with six rebounds and six assists, and Wright scored 11 with eight boards.
Up Next: Belmont has now won the first two games of its season-long four-game road trip. The Bruins play at Tennessee State on Wednesday at 11 a.m. before a trip to Tennessee Tech on Saturday.