Behind junior Kendall Cheesman grilling the opposing defense with nine 3-pointers, Belmont women’s basketball secured a win against the University of Georgia in its home opener 76-50.
The Bruins were recovering from a 72-61 loss against the University of Missouri on Monday.
After the Lady Bulldogs scored the opening four points, the Bruins began making it rain from beyond the arc, picking apart the Georgia defense.
From there, the Bruins began filling the Hampton Inn & Suites balloon and finishing the first quarter with a 21-6 lead.
Cheesman was the spark, scoring 13 points in the first quarter and effortlessly hitting four 3-pointers.
Entering the second, Cheesman continued to tame the Bulldogs from deep, knocking down another 3-pointer to extend the lead to 20.
But Georgia slowly began clawing its way back into the game, going on an 11-0 run.
The 32-23 score was the only time Georgia was within double digits the entire game.
Exiting the half, the Bulldogs offense was silenced, failing to score any points for seven-and-a-half minutes.
The Bruins took advantage, going on a 16-0 run to make the score 52-26.
The Bulldogs kept trying to show their bite by going on short runs, but Belmont proceeded to run away with the game in the fourth quarter.
The Bruins ended the game on a 17-3 run, including Cheesman’s eighth and ninth 3-pointers of the game.
Senior Blair Schoenwald also hit a chaotic 2-pointer in the final 30 seconds to send Belmont fans home happy.
Cheesman scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds while junior Tessa Miller proved that she’s a killer, scoring 17 points and having 11 rebounds.
Miller said she was glad Cheesman finally got recognition for her talents.
“That’s just who she is. And that’s who she’s been ever since she put on that Belmont jersey, and tonight she got to show that to everybody else,” Miller said. “We’ve always known that, and we enjoyed getting to see her enjoy that because she deserves all of it.”
She also said she hopes that the Bruins can build upon this performance.
“We just hope to build on this moment. We’ve shown ourselves that we can do it so we’re going to try to do it consistently,” Miller said. “We believe this is our identity so we’re going to show up like this every night and work on it every day.”
For head coach Bart Brooks, the difference between this game and the one against Missouri was drastic.
“It is what I envisioned for this year’s team and I believe we played with a lot more energy and enthusiasm that we did not have on Monday,” Brooks said. We worked all off-season for how we were going to play in this game. I think our players really embraced it and were able to open up aggressively early.”
But the journey doesn’t end here, he said.
“It’s more than just a goal is trying to live up to our standard every day of just doing things right and representing this great university,” Brooks said. “It’s doing everything we can to tell the Belmont story of how we fight.”
The Bruins will face off against Wichita State Shockers in the Curb Event Center Wednesday evening and hope to bring on their fighting spirit.
This article was written by Kyla Davidson