The Belmont women’s basketball team fell to the Marquette University Golden Eagles 64-61 on Sunday afternoon in the Curb Event Center.
Freshman Destiny Wells and Tuti Jones put on a clinic to keep the Bruins in the game from the first buzzer to the last. Wells put up a career high 21 points along with five steals, while Jones wasn’t too far behind with 17 points and five steals.
In a hard-fought loss — where at some points, Belmont was down by 10 — the Bruins put up their best fight of the season so far, especially on the defensive end. The Bruins forced the Golden Eagles to give up 25 turnovers, allowing Belmont to put up 19 points in total off Marquette’s offensive errors.
The Bruins opened up against a tough Marquette team with the mission to apply pressure on both ends of the floor.
At first tip, Wells took Belmont’s offense over putting up the first five points for the Bruins, and in transition, Jones created scoring opportunities with a couple of steals.
The Golden Eagles were ready for the pressure, however, as they matched Belmont’s energy going 5-7 to Belmont’s 4-5 in scoring.
Tied at 15 and with 2:30 to go in the first quarter, junior Allison Luly took a charge, giving Belmont the ball back and a chance to take the lead for the first time since their first field goal.
Coming out of the media timeout, both teams continued on their defensive strides, with the score being 18-17 Belmont. Wells finished the quarter with eight points and one steal, while Jones finished with six points and three steals that were flipped for Bruin baskets.
Wells continued to run Belmont’s offense, putting up a three quickly to put her in double figures. The Bruins then quickly lost offensive momentum, going on a scoring drought. However, they made it up on the defensive end, keeping every Golden Eagle on the floor desperately scrambling for baskets.
The Golden Eagles found Belmont’s achilles heel in Wells for most of the quarter, putting most of their pressure on her. Without any offensive momentum from her teammates, the Bruins went 1-13 until the final seconds of the half.
Due to Belmont’s defensive efforts and a last second stride on the offensive end, the result of the first half favored the Bruins 30-29. Wells, although silenced for most of the second quarter, finalized the half with 13 points, three steals and three rebounds.
The Bruins looked lost at the start of the second half, giving up unanswered Marquette baskets quickly and handing the Golden Eagles their largest lead of the game.
A layup by Wells kept Marquette’s lead within five, however the Golden Eagles continued on their 10-2 run, making the score 39-32 at the media timeout.
Even after a conversation with Head Coach Bart Brooks, the Bruins were unable to find offensive momentum going on a three minute scoring drought. Belmont’s offensive absence resulted in a 52-46 deficit going into the final quarter.
Down by six Jones put up a quick two to start the fourth quarter, and on the other end of the floor, she made a defensive play to force possession back to the Bruins. Wells created contact to put herself on the line, bringing the score to 52-50, and just like that the Bruins were back in the game.
Despite a small run from Marquette that distanced Belmont’s deficit, the Bruins pulled it together going on a 8-0 run that put them ahead 58-57 for the first time since the beginning of the third quarter.
The Bruins were unable to hold on to their momentum, going 1-7 in the final two minutes of the game, the score being 64-61.
Next, the Bruins will take a quick drive down the road to take on the Tennessee State Tigers in their second conference matchup of the non-conference season. Tip off is slated for 5 p.m.
This article written by Julieann Challacombe. Photo courtesy of Belmont Athletics.