In Belmont head coach Brittney Ezell’s first game in front of a home crowd, the Lady Bruins lost 73-52 to the UT-Martin Lady Skyhawks.
Belmont’s defense came out with a vengeance, forcing four turnovers in the first four minutes of play, taking a 5-4 lead.
But UT-Martin caught fire after a timeout as Taylor Hall made three three’s during a 15-2 run.
The Lady Skyhawks continued their hot shooting, hitting three more long-range baskets to take a commanding 31-10 lead.
With 5:31 left in the half, Jaclissa Haislip sunk yet another three, her third of the half, to give UT-Martin a 35-13 lead.
The Lady Bruins went into halftime down 42-18 after Lady Skyhawk point guard Heather Butler made a pull-up jumpshot with time winding down.
The rebounding margin told the tale of the first half. UT-Martin dominated the glass, out-rebounding Belmont 27-12. Playing without last season’s leading scorer Haley Nelson, the Lady Bruins struggled on offense, shooting a dismal 25 percent from the field.
“First half just couldn’t get anything going,” Ezell said. “I’m thinking ‘Oh my gosh can this hurry up and be over with.’”
The Lady Skyhawks picked up right where they left off, driving to the hoop and scoring a layup just 12 seconds into the second half.
Though trailing, the Lady Bruins kept attacking. Freshman standout Molly Ernst was persistent in firing from beyond the arc, connecting on four second half threes. “I’m never gonna stop shooting,” said Ernst. “Just gotta think about the next one.”
Coach Ezell earned her first technical as Belmont head coach with 12:29 remaining in the half. “I didn’t get a good one. I didn’t even use any magic words,” Ezell said.
Back to back scores by Haislip and Jasmime Newsome, followed by a conventional three-point play by Alecia Weatherly put the Lady Skyhawks up 65-33, their biggest lead of the game.
Ernst brought some life back to the Curb Event Center, knocking down three three-pointers in a span of two minutes. She was the Lady Bruins’ leading scorer for the game with 17.
Newsome led the way for the Lady Skyhawks with 19 points. Haislip added a season high 17 on 5-of-10 three-point attempts.
The Lady Bruins take on Tennessee Tech on Saturday, November 21. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 pm CST.