NASHVILLE, Tenn. – What was already true in Belmont women's basketball circles is now official across the entire Ohio Valley Conference: Darby Maggard is the greatest 3-point shooter there has ever been.
Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) broke the OVC's career record for threes Wednesday in helping the Bruins dispatch of Tennessee State, 89-65. Her 393 made 3-pointers now stand alone in the conference record book.
With a patented pump-fake, side-step three near the end of the third quarter at the Tigers' raucous Gentry Center, Maggard overtook UT Martin legend Heather Butler atop the OVC leaderboard. Long ago Belmont's career leader in threes, Maggard now ranks sixth all-time in NCAA Division I history.
"There are a lot of really great players who have played in the OVC before me, and to be able to move past them and score that many 3-pointers is pretty special," said Maggard, who ranks third among active players nation wide in made triples.
"It's also a testament to my teammates. Plenty of those threes – probably 90 percent of those threes – came off of great passes from them. There's no way I'd be able to do this without them."
Maggard, who was Tuesday named one of 10 final candidates for the WBCA's Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the nation's top shooting guard, finished with two 3-pointers, just enough to tie and break the OVC record. Belmont though knocked down 10 threes for its sixth straight game with as many makes.
The win also marked 11th straight for Belmont (19-5, 12-1 OVC), all against conference foes.
But victory was far more difficult to achieve than the final score may indicate. TSU (4-21, 4-9 OVC) enjoyed its best shooting performance of the season – the Tigers hit 44.1 percent of their shots (26-of-59) – and kept pace with conference-front-running Belmont deep into the first half. The score was tied 34-34 with three minutes until halftime when the Bruins caught fire.
Sparked by eight straight points from junior Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wis.), the Bruins pulled into the half with a 44-36 lead and never looked back. The burst was part of a 19-point first half for Harmeyer, who closed the day with her 10th double-double of the season at 27 points and 11 rebounds.
"Our game plan was to make them shoot contested jump shots, and they made a lot of those throughout the first half," Harmeyer said. " We just stayed the course because we knew those weren't always going to be there. We weren't going to give up layups today. Staying the course on our game plan is what allowed us to pull ahead."
Belmont, too, shot a season high Wednesday. The Bruins made 58.5 percent (31-of-53) of their attempts, their fourth time shooting better than 50 percent in the past five games.
Ball movement was key in that offensive efficiency, and Belmont dished out 20 assists for the second time in four outings. Ten of those came from senior Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) to match a career high. She logged her first double-double of the season by adding 10 points. Maggard had seven assists as well, moving her into fourth place in OVC history with 649 career dimes.
Up Next: Belmont now turns its attention to Tennessee Tech, the only team to best the Bruins in OVC play this season. The rematch is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Cookeville, Tenn.
"It should be a really good game," Harmeyer said. "We've improved upon the things that we lacked in that first game. We've practiced so hard and we've gotten so much better. I'm really excited for the matchup we have."