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Bruin comeback falls short in WNIT

Despite falling a point short in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament in a 48-47 road loss at Indiana, Belmont coach Cameron Newbauer still believes the women’s basketball team ended its season on a high note.

“We had plenty of opportunities to cash in the chips and they didn’t,”  Newbauer said. “They let it roll and played as hard as they could. Nothing to hang out heads on or things we could have done differently.”

Jordyn Luffman recorded a double-double with a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds while Frankie Joubran added 11 rebounds and two blocks.

In the opening minutes of the game, the Hoosiers got off to a quick 11-4 lead behind play underneath from Taylor Agler and Larryn Brooks.

After the Bruins started the game cold from the field, consecutive three pointers from Katie Carroll and Luffman brought the Bruins within one with 4:41 to go in the first.

The Bruin defense held the Hoosiers without a point until a layup from Agler to extend their lead back to three with less than two minutes remaining.

With 44 seconds remaining in the half, Taylor Mills knocked down a floater as the shot clock dwindled to narrow the lead 22-21. A layup from Deloach gave Indiana a 24-21 lead heading into halftime.

Belmont shot only 33 percent from the field in the first half and committed 10 turnovers but its defense held Indiana to 31 percent and outrebounded the Hoosiers by one.

Indiana once again got off to a hot start in the second led by Tabitha Gerardot and Lauren Leikem whose combined 12 points helped push the Hoosiers’ lead to 38-24.

Despite the large deficit, the Bruins showed their resiliency and fought back with a combination of attacking at the rim and play from behind the arc.

With less than three minutes to play, back-to-back threes by Carroll and Luffman once again trimmed the lead down 48-45.

A layup from Joubran brought Belmont within one and gave the team a chance to take the lead as the Bruins switched to their fouling strategy.

After Nicole Bell missed a one-and-one bonus with 5.6 seconds left, Luffman picked up the defensive rebound as time was winding down. However, Belmont could not maintain possession against Indiana’s triple team and fell in the final seconds.

“Defensively our team did a really good job,” Newbauer said. “That’s a team that scores 80 in their wins, 10 threes, and we held to 48 points and 3 threes. We talked about everything wanted to do defensively and we did it.”

In his first season at the helm of the program, Newbauer coached the Bruins to a 14-18 record and OVC East divisional title.

“I’m thankful to coach this group and excited about what we’ve done and thrilled about the future,” Newbauer said.

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