Updated: Sep 23
Besides poor shooting, something on the other end of the floor contributed to Belmont’s second-round loss: foul trouble.
After Monday’s record-breaking win against Gonzaga, head coach Bart Brooks was looking to approach his team’s next opponent in a similar way – rotating each of their bigs for both variation and rest reasons.
“Going into the game we felt like we had the ability to rotate all three of our big guys through to bring something different to the table,” said Brooks.
However, it was apparent very quickly that Wednesday’s second-round matchup, against No. 4 Indiana, would be a completely different experience.
By the third quarter, each of Belmont’s three bigs was either fouled out or in foul trouble, causing a discrepancy in Brooks’ plans and opening up the floor for Indiana to have an offensive field day.
“It was a huge factor,” said Brooks.
“Once all of them got into foul trouble, it really disrupted the substitution patterns and some of the things we wanted to do offensively.”
At the end of the first quarter, Belmont’s issue with fouls was nothing too severe. Two of its bigs, Madison Bartley and Allison Luly did have two fouls each, but that’s nothing a little discipline can’t fix.
By halftime though, Bartley had picked up one more along with fellow big Cam Browning who picked up two herself. The third quarter was no different after Bartley picked up two more becoming the first big to foul out.
“I thought Madison and some of our big guys picked up some cheap ones because of their hands and being in their spot half a step late,” said Brooks. “Just some discipline things that we have to get cleaned up.”
Luly followed suit, fouling out in the fourth quarter, and leaving Belmont its youngest big to battle in the post for the remainder of the game. With that, an unlucky string of fouls caused the Bruins to miss an opportunity to make history and take Belmont’s program to its first Sweet 16.
On a good note, Brooks has another opportunity to go on a postseason run with this exact same group, as he had no seniors on his roster. Come next season, he would have had ample time to improve his team’s discipline and overall performance, with a few new additions to help along the way.
This article was written by Julieann Challacombe. Photo courtesy of NCAA.