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Belmont’s Maggard makes program assist history in blowout

Saturday afternoon, Belmont put the clamps on Jacksonville State, especially its starters. The Gamecocks’ starters struggled to find cohesion offensively and neither of them reached double-digit scoring, but all five starters for the Bruins did and outscored its opponent 67-20.

Brittney Redstone - Swish Appeal

Nashville, TN — The Belmont Bruins won their 29th consecutive Ohio Valley Conference game, blowing out the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 71-55 at the Curb Events Center on Saturday afternoon.

From the moment these women laid eyes on the court, both teams had a look in their eyes of sheer focus.

The intense determination beaming off of these players was contagious and filled the arena with an ample amount of excitement.

Belmont wasted no time while snatching possession of the ball at tip-off. Immediately, Belmont’s Darby Maggard went for a three-point jumper, but didn’t make it. Luckily, keeping possession of the ball, Sally McCabe followed up with the first good shot of the game. However, not allowing her team to trail any further, Jacksonville State’s Kiana Johnson came right back with a two-point shot for her team.

Keeping the lead throughout the first period, the Bruins put up an aggressive fight. Jenny Roy provided a tremendous spark for Belmont, not missing a beat on the court as her defense aided in keeping the Gamecocks at a distance.

Jacksonville senior forward Tyler Phelion led her team today, as they needed her energy and defensive plays if they wanted a chance in grabbing the lead. Helping to keep the offensive plays up, Leah Strain was a force in the second quarter.

With a game total of five points this afternoon, she kept a pep in her step at all times, especially on defense as she attempted to keep Maggard’s offense to a minimum.

In the middle of the second quarter, Darby Maggard completed her 448th assist, which broke the career assist record for Belmont in the Division I era. Jacksonville State began to narrow the gap in the score but the Bruins kept up the defense, knocking down shots left and right. At halftime, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks were still trailing by two points, 35-33.

The third period pushed a wave of enthusiasm through the crowd when Belmont’s Jenny Roy sent a triple through the hoop putting the Lady Bruins at a 45-35 lead.

“You can hear the Curb was really rockin’ behind us and so that’s what this is all about. That’s what’s fun. That’s why we play the game we do,” Roy explained about what was going through her head after draining that three-point jumper.

The last chance for the Gamecocks to narrow that gap and steal the lead was unfortunately not possible due to the defensive plays demonstrated by Belmont. The Bruins ended up outscoring the Gamecocks 21-7 in the third quarter to expand the lead. Going into the final quarter of this game, Belmont led 56-40.

With 7:12 remaining in the game, Maggard hit a three to put Belmont up 63-42. From that point on, Jacksonville State stepped their game up and outscored Belmont 13-7, but it was too late. Belmont already had the upper hand and the victory.

All five Belmont starters, led by Maggard’s 21 points, scored in double-digits. Forward Jenny Roy had the game’s lone double-double, putting up a solid 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“I feel like I played a really good game but I can’t do that without my teammates. We knew that it was going to be a tough game, that we were gonna have to grind it out,” Roy said. “Just keep faithful to the little things, make the next play, and if my team wants to take away something, we can always make the next play and we love playing together.

“At the end of the day, it was a team win, and it was a really good one and we are really happy with it.”

Tyler Pherion led Jacksonville State with 10 points, and pulled down three rebounds as well.

Belmont will have to wait until January 10 to go for their 30th consecutive conference victory, as they will tip off against SIU–Edwardsville.

Belmont Bruins take home the victory (71-55) in the tournament against Jacksonville State Gamecocks this afternoon at the Curb Event Center!

Posted by Swish Appeal on Saturday, January 6, 2018