Updated: Oct 4
The Belmont women’s basketball team scraped by Austin Peay in the first round of the Ohio Valley Tournament with an overtime win of 76-73 in Evansville, Indiana.
Despite such a close call, each of the seniors put up double figures to welcome the last tournament run of their career. Ellie Harmeyer, Maura Muensterman and Maddie Wright combined for 49 points to keep their 12-0 playoff streak alive. Harmeyer put up her 23rd double double of the season with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
Game one tipped off with the first possession going to the Governors, however they were unable to make anything of it. The Bruins immediately took it to the other end of the floor for their first basket with a three from sophomore Conley Chinn.
Harmeyer and Muensterman also put themselves on the board early,collectively putting up six straight. The Governors follow by picking up the pace and dropping back to back threes that brought them up by one, the score 10-9.
Austin Peay continues to make their case with another pair of threes, but the Bruins counter their efforts with production in the paint. After equal fight from both sides, the first quarter ended with Belmont at a one point deficit with a score of 18-17.
The Bruins were able to put themselves on top at the start of the second quarter after a couple of forced turnovers turned into points. Sophomores Allison Luly and Jamelyn Kinney both pulled up for successful baskets that gave them a one point lead at 21-20, causing the Governor’s bench to take a timeout.
Senior Maddie Wright kicked off an 8-0 sequence that consisted of a steal, a defensive rebound and two layups that brought their lead up to 25-20.
After back-to-back success for both teams, the score remained neck-and-neck at 33-32 heading into the second half.
Although none of the Bruins were able to put up double-figures this half, eight different players contributed for their collective score of 33. They ended the half shooting 50 percent from the field and 29 percent behind the arc.
The Bruins began the third quarter on a negative note with three back-to-back turnovers that turned into points for the Governors. In a moment of desperation and attempt to talk some sense into his starters, coach Bart Brooks took all five players off the floor and replaced them with reserves.
Luly, junior Madison Treece, sophomore Maddie Cook and freshmen Nikki Bairdand and Kiki Britzman took care of business and tied the game at 39 to put the Bruins back into the game. Physical defense from both teams caused each to go on a scoring drought for over five minutes that kept the score tied at 41. The score at the end of the third favored Belmont by two at 49-47.
The Bruins went on a hopeful 6-0 run over the first two minutes of the final quarter that separated them to a lead of 55-49.
Belmont lost traction again going on a lengthy scoring drought that allowed the Governors to go on a run that put them ahead by two with 30 second left at 66-64. At the 12 second mark, Harmeyer put up a second chance lay up that tied the game at 66.
With the last possession belonging to the Governors, Cook made a game saving block that gave the ball back to the Bruins. Muensterman attempted to put up a game winning three, but was unable to make the shot fall sending the game into overtime.
A foul on Austin Peay sent Harmeyer to the line giving them two to start the five minutes of overtime. Each side went back-and-forth until the Bruins went on an 8-0 run for the last 2:43 of overtime.
A lay up by Harmeyer along with a foul allowed a 3-point play to tie the game at 73. The Bruins continued to outsmart the Governors and draw two straight fouls putting three more points on the board giving them a lead of 76-73 with 16 seconds left in overtime.
Without commiting sloppy fouls or letting up, the Bruins finished the final seconds locked in at their positions, not allowing the Governors to put up a single point. The Bruins ended the evening shooting 45 percent from the field and 33 from three.
The Bruins will advance to the semifinals on Friday to take on the winner of third seeded Southeast Missouri or sixth seeded Tennessee Tech. Tip off is set for 3 p.m..
Article written by Julieann Challacombe. Photo courtesy of Michael Dann.