The second seeded Belmont women’s basketball team ended their playoff run in the quarterfinals of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament after a tough 114-99 loss against third seeded Southeast Missouri.
This will be the first time in four years that the Bruins haven’t taken home the OVC title, and the first time in five years they haven’t at least made it to the final match.
For seniors Ellie Harmeyer, Maura Muensterman and Maddie Wright, it is the end of an era that consisted of championships, tournament berths and unbelievable basketball. When it comes to them, however, their success is the last thing on their miss list.
“Our locker room consistently stayed together through the lowest of lows,” said Muensterman.
”We wouldn’t want to put on any other jersey or play under any other coaches.”
Muensterman, an Evansville native, opened game two with a three to put the Bruins on the board. The Redhawks managed to force a few turnovers and responded with a 13-0 run to put them up by 10 early.
After a much needed timeout, the Bruins found a way to get it together and go on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to put themselves back into the game and tie it at 15.
Although the Redhawks were able to spark another run in the last few minutes of the first quarter, sophomore Conley Chinn put up a three at the buzzer that brought the score to 24-21 heading into the second.
After limited action from both teams at the start of the second quarter, the Bruins finally kicked things off with a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game 30-29. The run included 4 points from junior Madison Treece who bullied the Redhawks in the paint along with defense that sent the Redhawks on a scoring drought.
The first half ended with another run from the Redhawks to put them up 45-41 at the half. Sophomore Jamilyn Kinney put up two from mid-range at the buzzer to bring the Bruins within five. They ended the half shooting 44 percent from the field and 42 from the perimeter.
Chinn opened up the second half for the Bruins with her fourth three of the afternoon. The Redhawks then sent themselves on a 7-0 run to put them up 54-46.
The Redhawks continue to dominate, especially from the perimeter. They go on another run packed with threes that put them way ahead 77-58.
Their foot remained on the gas for the remainder of the third quarter. The Redhawks snapped for 35 points, bringing three different players to double figures, two of which with over 20 points. The Bruins headed into the final quarter at a deficit of 15, the score being 80-65.
The Redhawks ended their outstanding performance with a nearly perfect final quarter. They went 12-15 from the field and 4-5 from the perimeter. Their 86 percent three-point shooting performance now stands as highest in OVC history and eleventh in the NCAA history.
Their three highest scorers, senior Carrie Shephard, junior Tesia Thompson and sophomore Taelour Pruitt combined for 89 points to lead their team to this unprecedented win in the OVC.
The next step for the Bruins will be a possible bid into the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. If not, their season will end with a 22-9 record and a strong and talented team going into next year.
Article written by Julieann Challacombe. Photos by Bronte Lebo.