The women’s basketball team defeated Eastern Kentucky at home Thursday night 68-48 behind sophomore Conley Chinn’s game-high 15 points.
The Bruins’ picked up its fourth win of five conference games, after falling to Tennessee-Martin last week.
Three other starters scored in double figures along with Chinn. Senior Ellie Harmeyer and sophomore Jamilyn Kinney each dropped 14 points while senior Maddie Wright chipping in 10 points. Both Kinney and Chinn hit exactly 4-7 from behind the arch, which proved to be one of the keys to Thursday’s win.
“It was a good bounce-back from last Saturday,” head coach Bart Brooks said. “We didn’t play our best game last Saturday.”
Senior Maura Muensterman was out for tonight’s game, but Coach Brooks was pleased with his team’s ability to come out with a win despite her absence.
“Without a starter tonight in Maura, I thought our team did a good job,” Brooks said. “It took a little bit to get the flow, but once we got it I thought we did a good job of grinding out a tough win.”
The Bruins worked the ball inside early, as the first 6 points were all the direct result of drives into the lane – Maddie Wright’s opening free throws and then a pair of layups by Kiki Britzmann and Ellie Harmeyer in the first two minutes. Their interior offensive worked to their disadvantage at times as well, as Wright and Harmeyer each turned the ball over with errant passes on consecutive possessions in the following minutes.
Thanks to a 3-pointer from Kinney following a timeout, the Bruins established an early lead, holding the Colonels to just two points through almost six minutes of play. Eastern Kentucky’s Anysa Jordan broke the drought, but Belmont answered with a jumper by freshman Cam Browning.
After holding the Colonels to just four points in nine minutes, the Bruins ceded five late points to Eastern Kentucky’s offense, bringing the score to 11-9 in Belmont’s favor at the end of the opening frame.
Eastern Kentucky came out of the first quarter break strong, hitting a three-pointer in the first 15 seconds to surge all the way back and take a lead. Jamilyn Kinney answered with a three of her own a few possessions later to put the Bruins back in front by two.
Three-point shooting was the key to the Bruins staying in control in the first half despite the offensive effort by the Colonels. Conley Chinn and Jamilyn Kinney knocked down a pair of triples on back-to-back possessions midway through the second quarter.
Three-point defense, however, proved to be a trouble spot for the Bruins as the first half wound to a close, as they allowed consecutive threes and the Colonels to cut the lead back to three with under three minutes to play in the half.
A Kiki Britzmann steal gave the Bruins a spark late in the half, as her defensive effort turned into offense when she scored off an offensive rebound later in the possession. Britzmann scored the Bruins’ final points of the first half on a turnaround jumper with 20 seconds to go, giving Belmont a 29-26 lead going into halftime.
The Bruins’ 3-point ability was still on display at the start of the third quarter, as Conley Chinn converted attempts from both corners as the Bruins built on their halftime lead. Chinn hit a third 3-pointer in the third quarter with just over two minutes to play before the break, extending Belmont’s lead to 43-30. All 14 of Belmont’s third-quarter points came from either Conley Chinn three-pointers or Ellie Harmeyer free throws.
“I think anytime you get Ellie the ball on the block, that’s a good thing,” Brooks said of Harmeyer’s ability to get to the free throw line. “And Conley Chinn obviously has the ability to make threes, and they were open, great rhythm threes, and she knocked them down. I think we just did a better job in the third quarter of moving the basketball, moving people, and getting a little bit better shots than we did in the first half.”
The Bruins struck quickly to begin the fourth quarter as Ellie Harmeyer drove to the lane and took advantage of an easy layup opportunity in just 10 seconds.
The Bruins consistently forced empty possessions by the Colonels, setting up Conley Chinn for a pair of made free-throws to extend the lead to 18 with three and a half minutes to play in the game.
From that point on, Belmont extended its lead with successful possessions while it held Eastern Kentucky scoreless for over two minutes. Jamilyn Kinney scored 5 straight points and Cam Browning scooped up an offensive rebound for two more. The Bruins’ largest lead would end up being 65-42 before the Colonels scored a few late baskets to close the final margin.
When the final buzzer sounded, Belmont took the 68-48 win. The Bruins will carry their momentum into Saturday’s matchup against Morehead State at the Curb Event Center.
Article written by Evan Dorian. Photos by Chloe Delainey.