For the fourth consecutive season, the women’s basketball team won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship after defeating UT Martin 59-50 on Saturday afternoon in Evansville, Indiana.
Senior Jenny Roy was named the tournament MVP after three fantastic performances on the court. In the championship, Roy scored 8 points, rebounded 11 and assisted 6.
As a captain, Roy has run the court from all sides throughout the season and helped lead a team with some great young athletes to a championship.
“I think we were just locked in and focused, and we carried that for 40 minutes,” Roy said. “When things got tough, we came together, and so that’s just a testament of who we are as a team. And it was fun doing with these girls by my side, that’s what mattered out there.”
Roy — along with fellow senior Darby Maggard and junior Ellie Harmeyer — was named to the All-Tournament team.
Harmeyer led the team in points, scoring 16 and rebounding 9.
The game couldn’t have been more of a nail-biter, as it came down to the last 30 seconds.
The Bruins led for a majority of the first quarter and all of the second, but UT Martin’s Chelsey Perry and Brittni Moore both scored 8 points in the first half, keeping the Skyhawks within striking reach.
Belmont led UT Martin 27-24 at halftime, but it wouldn’t get much easier after that.
The Skyhawks would take a 33-30 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. But three straight free throws from freshman Jamilyn Kinney and a Maggard three gave the Bruins a 42-35 lead at the end of the third quarter, giving Belmont enough comfort room to hold on to win.
Freshman Conley Chinn scored 9 points, including a deadly three with under a minute left to solidify the Bruins’ fourth OVC championship in four years.
Head coach Bart Brooks believed the performances by the freshman in the second half of the season gave the Bruins the edge in the tournament.
“They’ve done what they’ve been doing for the last month, month and a half. That’s when this team really started to get good, and that’s why I think we have a chance to be really good here in a couple of weeks,” said Brooks.
In his first two season at Belmont, Brooks has led the Bruins to two straight championships. The seniors and juniors on the team have seen a lot of change throughout their careers, but Maggard recognizes this team and her final OVC Championship are something special.
“This team has gone through so much this year,” she said. “I feel like there has been so much adversity thrown at us. Instead of splitting apart and going our separate ways, I feel like we really came together in times where we needed to, and that’s what I think makes us special.”
The Bruins will have a much-deserved week off before they find out who they will play in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Monday on March 11.
Photos by Carina Eudy.