Backed behind their largest home crowd of the season and the ever-present residents from Pembroke Hall, the Belmont Bruins won their second Battle of the Boulevard victory against the Lipscomb Lady Bison 64-54 at the Curb Event Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins took to a slow start, but quickly warmed up thanks to the efforts of guard Katie Brooks who shot for 15 points for the day.
“When you don’t play rivalry games all the time, you don’t know how much emotion is involved. Once the kids calmed down, I think things started going more smoothly.” said Belmont head coach Brittney Ezell.
Post Haley Nelson, Belmont’s leading scorer with 17 points, would join the 1,000 point club after sinking a free throw after being fouled by Lipscomb post Erika Thornsberry.
“It’s a great feeling, but it’s even better to just have a win in the Atlantic Sun conference,” said Nelson after the game.
Lipscomb was quick to recover though, tying the game at 7 apiece with a three-point jump shot by senior wing Hannah Phillips and 2 successful free throw attempts by O’Neisha Smith within the first 8 minutes of play.
The Lady Bison would take a 16-9 lead on a 9-2 scoring run with 8:31 to go in the half.
Relentless, Belmont bounced back with their own offensive effort with field goals from Nelson and Brooks to take a 22-20 lead with under 4 minutes to go in the half.
The Bruins would enter the locker room with a 32-26 lead shooting over 43 percent of their field goal attempts.
Lipscomb would proceed to struggle both offensively and defensively opening up the second half, while Belmont continued to maintain their lead by as many as 7 points.
Lipscomb would cut the lead to under 3 near the 10 minute mark, with the Bruins leading 43-40.
Tristan Daniel and Adrienne Tarrence would both shoot their own FG’s to extend Belmont’s lead to 50-43 with under 8 minutes to go in the second half.
With under 6 minutes, treys by junior guard Alyssa Visbeen and freshman guard Katie Carroll, Belmont would take a 12 point lead over the Lady Bison, 59-47, their largest of the game.
Lipscomb would attempt to make a comeback with under three minutes to go as freshman post Sasha Robinson would sink her first two layups of the game, cutting Belmont’s lead 61-53. Their efforts would prove unsuccessful as a field goals by Brooks would seal the deal for the Bruins.
“Haley and Alyssa were fantastic. All of our post players really showed up to play. We try to keep our kids focused on us, and when we start focusing on other things, we’re not very good. But, I thought we were pretty good tonight.” said Ezell.
The Bruins left the game scoring 16 points off of Lipscomb’s 17 turnovers, and now stand 3-2 in conference play.
Belmont will continue their three-game home stand on January 12 against FGCU at 7:00 at the Curb Event Center.