The Belmont Bruins defeated UT Martin 83-62 in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Championship Tournament at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
Sally McCabe led the Bruins setting a career high with 27 points and 5 rebounds. Darby Maggard followed with 18 points and 2 rebounds.
“Honestly I can’t do anything I do without my teammates,” McCabe said. “I don’t bring the ball down and give it to myself, I have awesome teammates who trust me which really means a lot.”
The win did not come easy, as the Bruins had a rough start to the game. Belmont led at the beginning of the first quarter but quickly lost momentum when UT Martin surged ahead.
“We knew UT Martin was gonna come out and want to punch us in the face, and they did,” Newbauer said. “For us to have to fight for that and come back at half time, it’s great to see that resilience and perseverance that we share as a group.”
UT Martin maintained their lead through the end of the first and had Belmont down 12 points with only 4:58 left in the second quarter. Kylee Smith, Darby Maggard and Paris Lawson each made three-point shots propelling the Bruins into a 36-36 tie at the end of the second quarter.
The Bruins came back after the half with energy and momentum and took the lead with a score by Sally McCabe with 7:37 left in the quarter. The Bruins held the lead the entire third and fourth quarters, securing their 20th win and placing them in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship game.
“We came out not playing as well as we would have hoped, but that’s one thing about this team, we looked at each other and knew we wanted to battle for each other,” Maggard said. “We’re just going to keep playing our game and never quit.”
The Bruins advanced to championship and NCAA Automatic Qualifier game and will play Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
The Belmont women’s basketball team will play Eastern Kentucky University in the OVC championship game Saturday at 2:00 p.m.. EKU defeated SIUE 61-58 and advanced to the championship game. The Bruins faced EKU twice during the 2016-2017 season and won both games.
Click below for the updated OVC bracket.
Article written by Hunter Morgan and Zach Gilchriest. Photos by Hunter Morgan and Cooper Smith.