Belmont women’s basketball fell short of competing in March Madness after a suffering a loss in the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
Despite the sour ending in Moline, Illinois, the Bruins were awarded a chance at more basketball, earning an at-large bid into the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
For the first round, Belmont traveled to Muncie, Indiana, to compete against Ball State University.
The game was a showcase of both teams’ offensive skillsets as each squad shot over 50% from the field.
The difference came from behind the arc.
While the Bruins hit seven 3-pointers, the Cardinals converted 16.
11 of those 3-pointers came during a crucial stretch in the second and third quarters where the Cardinals gained a 22 point lead over the Bruins.
The closest Belmont would get for the rest of the game was a nine-point deficit.
Leading scorer Anna Clephane headlined an impressive group of three Cardinals that scored over 20 points, helping propel Ball State to the 101-86 win.
For the Bruins, four players scored in double figures.
Sophomores Kendal Cheeseman and Kilyn McGuff each scored 11 points while sophomore forward Tessa Miller added 16.
In the early stages of the game, Junior forward Madison Bartley joined Belmont’s 1,000-point club after draining a 3-pointer.
However, the main star for the Bruins was junior guard Destinee Wells.
Wells continued her offensive masterclass from the MVC tournament, often putting the Belmont offense on her back.
In the third quarter, she scored 17 of Belmont’s 23 points.
Overall, Wells surpassed 30 points for the fourth time in five games, tying her career high with 35 points.
Over the last five games of the season, Wells averaged an impressive 32.4 points per contest.
She finishes her junior season with 684 points, setting the single season scoring record in the Bruins' NCAA era.
With its main core seemingly returning next year, the Bruins seem poised to terrorize the MVC next season.
But for now, they’ll be watching other teams from home.
This article was written by Ty Wellemeyer