Women’s basketball wins second OVC tournament title in a row, secures NCAA spot
The Belmont Bruins women’s basketball team dominated Eastern Kentucky University 94-64 in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game Saturday, securing their second OVC championship title in a row and the second in the program’s history.
This was the Bruins’ 21st straight win, putting them 19-0 in conference play and securing them a spot in the NCAA women’s tournament.
“It’s crazy to think of what we just did,” Coach Cameron Newbauer said. “We just won 21 in a row, 19-0 in conference and we’ve never once talked about a record or championship or any of those things.”
“It’s a testament to our team to buy into something far greater than themselves.”
The Bruins played a tight game against EKU throughout the first half of the game, but ended the second quarter up by 10. The Bruins never gave up their lead and ended the game 30 points up.
“There’s no measure for what confidence can do for you when you’ve been hit and you stick together and you fight and fight through it,” Newbauer said. “Our players have done a great job this year of evaluating and adjusting at halftime and coming out in the second half and putting the foot down and going all gas.”
Kylee Smith ended the game with a career-high of 30 points and was named the OVC tournament MVP.
“We love each other on and off the court, and at the end of the day that is what trickles over to us, having each other’s backs,” Smith said.
Darby Maggard ended the game with 22 points.
“To be able to have the people beside you that believe in you, that believe 100 percent in this team is amazing,” Maggard said. “I think the way that we played today is representative of the whole year and our love for each other.”
Sally McCabe led with 11 rebounds.
“It feels really great to be back here and to have done what we’ve done,” McCabe said. “This is a special team and we knew we were going to do some special things this year.”
“To be able to win another championship is just unreal.”
McCabe said she feels the team is ready for the NCAA tournament.
“We’ve worked really hard this year to get back to where we are,” McCabe said. “It’s super exciting to get to go back and play another game in the NCAA tournament.”
“We’ve got some unfinished business.”
The NCAA Selection Show will be held Monday, March 13 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Photos by Hunter Morgan and Cooper Smith