After defeating the Mercer Bears 69-62 Monday night in their home opener, the Belmont women’s basketball team gathered around a beaming coach Cameron Newbauer at half court.
The win was Newbauer’s first as a head coach.
“He pushes us at practice and gives us his all every single day,” said junior Jordyn Luffman. “That’s what we want to do for him to just give that back to him and respect him. It was very special.”
Five players scored in double figures for the Bruins while Luffman earned a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
“It was great to have a win in our first game here at the Curb with such an electric crowd and student support and all the fans that were here,” Newbauer said. “To win this first game at home, it was special to us.”
Belmont was the first to jump on the scoreboard as redshirt sophomore Blair Bryce found the basket in the first 20 seconds. The score gave Belmont a lead they would never surrender to Mercer throughout the game.
The Bruins continued to add onto their lead with a 9-4 run sparked by a layup from Frankie Joubran with 14:29 remaining. The run was capped off by a three-pointer from Torie Vaught and another Joubran layup.
With less than six minutes remaining, Belmont started another 7-2 run to extend its lead 29-17.
In the final seconds of the half, Mercer guard Alicia Williams knocked down a pair of free throws to cut Belmont’s lead to eight at the halftime break.
Mercer continued to chip away at the lead thanks to guard Precious Bridges, who scored seven straight points for the Bears in the opening minutes of the half.
By the 12:45 mark, Belmont built its largest lead of the night to go up by 16 points with 12:45 remaining in the game.
Mercer was eventually able to pull within two with eight minutes remaining after Williams scored six unanswered points and the jumper from Bridges.
A steal from Katie Carroll and jumper from Joubran sparked another run, allowing the Bruins to outscore Mercer 13-8 in the final six minutes to seal the game.
The Bruins also put together a balanced attack with their post game and scored 34 points inside the paint on the night.
“They just stuck with what we wanted to run and what we were doing. It was our players making shots and trusting the offense,” Newbauer said “They did a great job executing their practice. Our kids just did a good job of sharing the ball and playing together.”
Belmont returns to action on Thursday as Coach Cam will get his first taste of the Battle of the Boulevard rivalry. Tip-off at Lipscomb is set for 5:15 p.m.