Women's Basketball Races Past UNF, 57-35, to Take Third Place in A-Sun
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was like deja-vu as the Belmont women's basketball team (7-14, 6-4 A-Sun) dominated visiting North Florida (8-13, 5-5 A-Sun) for the second time this season to take sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Sun. The Bruins jumped out to a 10-0 lead to open the first half en route to notching a 57-35 victory over the Ospreys on Thursday night at the Curb Event Center.
The Bruins opened the first stanza on fire, jumping out to a 10-0 lead behind baskets by redshirt junior Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn.), seniors Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.) and Tristan Daniel (Waynesboro, Tenn.) and a triple by sophomore Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.). It would nearly be five minutes into the contest before North Florida would net its first points of the night but BU continued piling on the points.
BU easily controlled the contest on both sides of the ball and took full advantage of the Ospreys' poor shooting, which fell as low as 12 percent, forcing them to throw up numerous attempts just as time was expiring on the shot clock. With just under four minutes remaining in the half, UNF finally cracked the double digit plateau, trimming Belmont's lead to 13, 23-10. However, the Bruins would expand their lead to 15, the largest of the half, 30 second later after a Nelson skyhook. North Florida would net the final points of the half but the Bruins easily carried a 25-12 advantage into the locker room.
The Ospreys opened the second half much more aggressively, hoping to close the scoring gap. However, BU remained unwavering in its efforts to sweep this year's series. The Bruins build up a 19-point lead after a trifecta by freshman Katie Carroll (Lilburn, Ga.) and back-to-back jumpers by Brooks.
Midway through the half, UNF began to hastily make up ground, building on an 8-2 run that moved it to within, 12, 43-31. However, a trey by junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) from the top of the arc closed the door for good as the Ospreys fell ice cold from the floor for more than five minutes. The Bruins pulled away by as many as 24 points, 55-31, in the final three minutes of regulation and again relied on a total team effort on both sides of the ball to cruise to victory. North Florida netted a pair of free throws for their final points of the night but freshman Torie Vaught (Maryville, Tenn.) drove for a layup with 12 ticks left on the clock to give BU the 57-35 win.
UNF shot 25.6 percent from the floor, 21.4 percent from three-point range and 58.8 percent from the free-throw line.
The Ospreys had only one player reach double digits – Jadhken Kerr with 11 points. Larkira Jones led the team in rebounds, grabbing five.
Belmont shot 43.4 percent from the hardwood, 42.9 percent from behind the three-point arc and 55.6 percent from the charity stripe. The Bruins held the advantage in rebounds, 40-30, assists, 18-7, and blocks, 7-1. The teams were tied in steals with four apiece.
Brooks led the Bruins with a career and game-high 18 points. Nelson collected her 11th double-double of the season with 14 points and game-high 11 rebounds. She also recorded a game-high six assists and four blocks. Ernst finished with nine points, all from behind the three-point arc.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday at the Curb Event Center when it hosts Jacksonville for its fourth annual Think Pink game dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m.