Narrow loss to Tennessee Tech, Bruins remain No. 1 in OVC
This week’s winter storms brought rain, sleet, snow and a warmed-up Tennessee Tech team ready to face off against the No. 1 ranked Bruins.
Belmont women’s basketball took on the Golden Eagles Saturday in the Curb Event Center, but despite the home-court advantage, the visitors from Cookeville, Tennessee, won out 57-55.
The win for the Golden Eagles moves them from fourth to third place in the Ohio Valley Conference, but Belmont still remains on top.
Tech led Belmont for most of the game, and though Belmont was able to tie the action twice at the end of the fourth quarter, a few missed Hail Marys from the Bruins gave the Golden Eagles the edge.
“I take responsibility for that. I did not have these guys ready to play,” Belmont head coach Bart Brooks said after the game. “Tennessee Tech was ready and they played great.”
Despite the loss, the game saw big shots from Belmont’s brightest.
Last week’s hero Madison Bartley kicked off the game for the Bruins, scoring four points at the top of the first quarter.
But the Golden Eagles weren’t distracted by Bartley or the top-ranked Bruins, and the visiting team went on a 14-5 run to establish a solid lead over Belmont by the end of the period.
The Bruins responded to Tech’s lead with a jump shot by sophomore Destinee Wells to kick off the second quarter, but it was almost all Tech after that.
By the fifth minute, Tech extended its lead to ten, fueled by shots from Golden Eagles graduate guard Anna Jones and three Belmont turnovers.
With less than five left in the half, Tuti Jones ended Belmont’s 4-minute scoring drought with a jumper in the paint. Free throws by Bartley, Kiki Britzmann, Tessa Miller and jump shots from Jones cut Tech’s lead to four before Destinee Wells brought Belmont even closer with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the half.
Madison Bartley puts up a shot against the Golden Eagles. Belmont Vision / Jenna Roberts
Despite turnovers galore on both sides, the Golden Eagles entered the second half looking to extend their lead while Belmont had their sights set on a comeback. A relatively quiet Curb Event Center wouldn’t keep these teams down.
Golden Eagles sophomore guard Peyton Carter kicked off the scoring in the second half with a 3-point jumper. Turnovers by both teams kept the ball moving across the court before Wells answered Carter’s shot with a layup.
Tech put up seven unanswered points before Belmont’s Blair Schoenwald launched a 3-point jumper with just under five minutes in the half.
In the waning minutes of the quarter, Belmont went on a 10-3 run, and entered the final ten minutes of the game trailing by just six points.
Belmont seemed to save the theatrics for the final quarter of the game, where Jones, Wells and a long 3-pointer from Jamilyn Kinney helped the Bruins tie the game at 51-all.
Despite a pair of free throws from the Golden Eagles, layups by Miller and Wells once again tied the game at 55 with 20 seconds left on the clock.
Tech’s leading scorer Jones put up a 2-point layup, leaving the Bruins with just six seconds to figure things out.
A missed layup and a missed jump shot from Bartley and Conley Chinn sent the ball rolling to half court as the final buzzer rang.
“We’ve got a lot to work on,” Brooks said, looking toward next week’s matchups.
The Bruins will head up the highway Thursday for a game against Austin Peay before returning home for a Saturday-evening faceoff against University of Tennesee Martin.
Bart Brooks (center) at the bench. Belmont Vision / Jenna Roberts
PHOTO: No. 12 Kilyn McGuff drives past the Golden Eagles in Saturday’s Tennessee Tech game. Belmont Vision / Jenna Roberts
This article was written by Sarah Maninger.