Shots didn’t fall, and a rally came too late for the Belmont women’s basketball team in a 72-69 loss to North Alabama in its home opener.
“We kept fighting but what needed to happen, that needed to happen earlier. So we kind of dug ourselves a hole, and it just didn’t workout our way,” said true freshman center Sally McCabe.
Sophomore Frankie Joubran led Belmont with 17 points and 11 rebounds. McCabe ended the night with her first double-double as a Bruin, totalling 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“For a true freshman, she’s very skilled and has done a very good job for us. I couldn’t be more happy for her right now with her play on the court,” said Belmont coach Cameron Newbauer.
The Bruins had a slow start to the game and found themselves down 12-4 just under five minutes in.
McCabe provided a spark off the bench to finish an impressive put-back while being fouled and made the extra point to keep the Bruins alive. Immediately following, two baskets from Joubran gave Belmont its first lead of the night at 13-12.
After the Lions regained the lead, senior Adrienne Tarrence scored a layup to tie the game at 18-18 and earned a free throw. She missed the extra point, but the Bruins were able to maintain possession, thanks to impressive play from Joubran.
Sophomore Kia Perry finished the drive with a 3-pointer to give Belmont a 21-18 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
McCabe scored three baskets in a row to give Belmont its largest lead of the night, 28-22, with just under two minutes to go in the half.
The teams went into the locker room with the score at 30-25 in favor of the Bruins.
Strong effort on offense contributed to the Bruins out rebounding the Lions 30-17 in the first half, 13 of which were offensive for Belmont compared to UNA’s four.
The Lions came out of the locker room swinging and tied up the game 30-30 and proceeded to earn a seven-point lead within a two-minute span to make the score 37-30 with 15 minutes and 33 seconds remaining.
The Bruins only produced eight points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Jordyn Luffman-Hartsfield buried a three and a breakaway layup from Perry made the score 51-49 with less than seven minutes to go.
After back-and-forth play, UNA went on an eight-point run with less than two minutes remaining in the half.
However, Belmont wasn’t going down without a fight as Tarrence finished a layup and earned an extra-point opportunity. The free throw bounced off the rim and a diving save out of bounds from Joubran kept the ball alive and set up Luffman-Hartsfield for the layup.
The score stood at 68-61 with just over a minute to go.
A combination of two jumpers from Joubran and a steal that set up Luffman-Hartsfield for the easy layup brought the score to 70-69 with five seconds remaining in the game.
Two made free throws from UNA forced the Bruins to have to score a three to tie up the game. The three-point attempt from Tarrence slowly spun around the rim but fell out, giving the Lions the victory 72-69.
Belmont shot 28 for 73 from the field and struggled to make free throws, only scoring 9 out of 21 attempts.
“You’ve got to show up for every game. It doesn’t matter if it’s Division I, Division II, Division III. It doesn’t matter who you play, you have to show up to play, and we didn’t show up to play,” said Newbauer.
The Bruins begin a three-game road swing Thursday at Louisville at 6 p.m.