It may have taken two conference games to do it, but Belmont’s women’s basketball has proven its spot in the Ohio Valley Conference after beating Tennessee Tech 62-53 in the home conference opener.
Today’s win was the first time Belmont has beaten the Golden Eagles at home since 2008.
“I’m really happy with the intensity we played with all game and with our ‘sticktuativeness,’ if I can make that word up, and how hard we played the whole game,” said first year coach Cameron Newbauer.
Last season, Tennessee Tech won the three meetings and was selected to finish first in the OVC East followed closely by Belmont at second.
“That was important to us today because they beat us three times last year and their only thoughts of us, being in the league one year, is them beating us,” said Newbauer. “So it was important for us to go get respect and I think we did that.”
The first four minutes was a back and forth battle until Frankie Joubran’s basket started a 4-2 run that pushed the Bruins to an early lead. TTU soon answered to send the game back into constant lead changes.
However, following a Bruin foul, the Golden Eagles started a run that ended with Tech’s largest lead of the game of six points.
A Jordyn Luffman 3-pointer brought Belmont within one but Tech once again was able to take the lead back.
The last six minutes of the game followed the same back-and-forth method as Katie Carroll and Lauren Thompson both got off threes only to be answered by shots from Tech’s Diamond Henderson and T’Keyah Williams. At just under a minute left, Thompson made a basket to give the Bruins a little breathing room.
Taylor Mills sank a three-pointer with less than eight seconds left in the half to give Belmont a 35-29 lead.
Belmont opened the first half with a 14-6 run with Luffman and Carroll’s threes pushing the score to 49-35.
A series of Bruin fouls sent Tech to the charity stripe and put the Golden Eagles within six with 9:16 left in the half.
Mills’ shot clock beating 3-pointer provided some breathing room for Belmont.
Tech’s scrappy defense made a push but Belmont was able to ride out the full-court press to a 62-53 final.
“It was a hard game. It was physical, but we just bared our claws and dug in,” said Mills.
Four Bruins scored in double digits; Luffman (12), Carroll (11), Mills (11) and Tarrence (10).
“Offensively we are a pretty balanced team and when everybody is scoring that’s when we are at our best,” Newbauer said. “Everyone shared the points, played together and that’s why we won the game.”
The Bruins continue their OVC home-stand on Monday when they host Jacksonville State at 6 p.m.
>>> For the second time, J.T. Faircloth made a half-court shot to earn free tuition for next semester.