Nashville, TN -- The Belmont Bruins wasted no time showing its aggressive nature, using a 22-point first quarter to dominate the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars 86-64 on Saturday afternoon.
There was no denying the ferocity on the court this afternoon, as the Bruins (20-3, 10-0 Ohio Valley) put on an offensive clinic against the Cougars (11-10, 8-2 Ohio Valley).
Before the game started, Belmont took the time to honor the original Belmont University Women’s Basketball Team and the woman who started the entire program 50 years ago, Betty Wiseman.
“This reunion will be my favorite memory because its all about family with us, every team is special, every team has special moments, but we’ve come together 50 years today, and there is nothing like it,” Wiseman explained.
This celebration gave the current Bruins squad all the inspiration they needed. Within the first eight minutes, Belmont was already up 14-4. The Bruins finished up the first quarter on a 13-4 run that left them with a 22-8 lead.
Belmont head coach Bart Brooks said that the first quarter was a result of finally having a full, healthy squad to suit up.
“We’ve been battling injuries and we’re starting to finally get healthy," Brooks said. "It was the first week that we’ve had everyone together and we had two practices. It’s slowly getting better."
“It was great to see some people make some shots that they normally make and play how we normally play.”
SIUE needed to get their head in the game and start making some of these shots fall if they wanted a chance in this game. However, Belmont had no intentions of letting that happen. In the first 30 seconds of the second quarter, Belmont's Darby Maggard (19 points) and Sierra Jones (4 pts, 4 rebs) put up back-to-back threes to put the Bruins up by 20 points.
Going into halftime, the Bruins had a 48-31 advantage.
In the third quarter, we saw the Cougars step up their game. Tremendous defensive plays from SIUE’s Donshel Beck and Allie Troeckler showed that the Cougars were determined to close that gap. And although the offense started to fire up as well (at one point making six of seven shots), the SIU-Edwardsville couldn't keep up with Belmont's fast pace.
Going into the final frame, the Bruins maintained their double-digit lead, as they were up 70-52.
This was the last chance for SIU-Edwardsville to make their big comeback. The Bruins did not seem as if letting up on the pressure was on their agenda Saturday, because they ended up with a 24-point lead. The Bruins finished the game the same way they started, outscoring SIU-Edwardsville 16-12 to put the game away.
Kylee Smith led all scorers with 20 points for the Bruins, and also had seven assists. Smith felt like Saturday's game was truly a full team performance.
“We were definitely playing inspired, and playing for each other, and for the 49 other teams that have played before us," Smith said.
This is the 12th game this season that the Bruins have hit at least 10 triples as seven different players drilled one and all but one player.
With the win, the Bruins also finished a four-game home sweep and their 11th straight win over a conference opponent.
Clawing themselves yet another victory, the Belmont Bruins Roar home with a 22-point win ! Final score, 86-64Posted by Swish Appeal on Saturday, January 27, 2018