The Belmont women’s basketball team rang in the New Year with an impressive 62-39 victory over Southeast Missouri in its conference season opener.
The team scored just six points in the first 10 minutes of the match but was able to step it up and pull out the conference victory.
After a sloppy start for both teams, the action picked up with seven minutes left in the half as Katie Carroll scored the first 3-pointer for either team to make it a 1-point match with a score of 10-9 in SEMO’s favor.
Before the basket, Belmont shot 21 percent to SEMO’s 25.
The Bruins closely trailed behind the Redhawks until an 8-point run led by freshman Sierra Jones gave Belmont the lead at 19-14. Jones scored five of the eight points during the drive.
Sophomore Frankie Joubran finished out the run with a layup to give the Bruins their largest lead of the half at 19-14 with less than five minutes on the clock.
Belmont maintained the lead to close out the first half with a score of 28-21. Each team struggled to make baskets as SEMO shot 30 percent to Belmont’s 39 percent on the half.
Jones was a huge spark off the bench having scored 10 points in just seven minutes during the first half.
She carried her success into the second stanza as she subbed in and immediately sunk a three to give Belmont a 12-point lead just four minutes into the half.
“You never really know how it’s going to be so everyone needs to be ready when your number gets called because if one person doesnt play well someone else needs to pick them up and that happened tonight,” said coach Cameron Newbauer. “Sierra kick started us, came off the bench and did some great things.”
The freshman closed out the night with 13 points, but Joubran led the way for Belmont with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Sally McCabe also finished in double-digit scoring with 10 points.
After a dry first stanza, the Bruins turned up the heat in the second on both ends of the court scoring 34 points and holding the Redhawks to just 18 second-half points.
“Our defense did a really good job of holding them to 18 points in the second half. I’ll take that any day of the week,” said Newbauer.
The Bruins held a considerable 27-point lead at 62-35 with just under a minute and a half remaining.
“We started off kind of slow but I thought that we played really hard and were able to get that 20 plus lead,” said Jones.
After a few free throws from SEMO in the final minute, the Bruins eventually finished with a 23-point advantage to begin undefeated in conference play.
“We just got to focus on the next one at hand, take away what we can from today and move on and get better,” said Newbauer. “We’ve got a 4-time champion coming in Saturday so hopefully we’ll be fired up for that.”
The team hosts UT-Martin in the Curb Event Center Saturday at 2 p.m.