Smith leads the Bruins past the Golden Eagles

Smith leads the Bruins past the Golden Eagles

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Senior guard Kylee Smith (Alpharetta, Ga.) posted a double-double while hanging 26 points on Tennessee Tech Saturday night as Belmont women's basketball edged the Golden Eagles, 68-60, inside the Eblen Center. The victory extend's BU's winning streak to 15 games while marking its 39th consecutive OVC win. 

Smith used a 17-point third quarter to help the Bruins (24-3, 14-0) distance themselves, a feat that would prove critical down the stretch. She also compiled 11 rebounds while dishing two assists. The veteran was accompanied by Sally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) who poured in 12 and 11 points, respectively. Junior Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) collected six board, five assists and a pair of steals.

Tennessee Tech (6-19, 3-11) was led by Yaktavia Hickson's 17 points with a 6-for-6 performance at the line. She was followed by Akia Harris (12points) and Mackenzie Coleman (10 points) in the double-digit scoring efforts. Three difference players collected seven boards for the Golden Eagles who outrebounded the Bruins, 38-35.

The Bruins struggled to find a rhythm throughout the first half as the Golden Eagles held them to just 24 points. Tennessee Tech opened the game with a 7-2 run in the first three minutes before Belmont found an answer. The squad's final three field goals of the first stanza came in the form of a triple with junior guard Maura Muensterman (Evansville, Ind.) leading the charge. Smith and Maggard followed suit to put BU ahead, 13-9 at the break.

TTU once again got on the board first in the second period to tie it up, 13-13. McCabe went on to score the Bruins first three points before BU suffered a three-minute scoreless drought. The Mt. Juliet, Tenn. product hit a free throw at the 3:28 mark that put her atop the program's Division I era record book with 1,418 career points. A Golden Eagle technical foul gave the Bruins a pair of free shots at the line that Maggard sunk to spark the offense and put Belmont back on top, 18-17. Six lead changes in the second stanza alone left BU with a narrow, 24-23, lead heading into halftime.

Back-to-back layups from Smith gave Belmont its biggest lead of the game, 30-25, with 7:38 remaining in the third. The Golden Eagles refused to let up as they stormed back with five unanswered points of their own to knot it back up. Smith continued to power the Bruins, scoring 11 consecutive points for Belmont over the span of three minutes to once again put the team on top. Tennessee Tech continued to battle, coming within as many as four points but couldn't get past the hump. Smith finished the frame with 17 points while going 7-for-7 at the line to put BU up, 49-41. 

Both squads continued to battle, trading buckets to start the fourth. A three-pointer from TTU's Harris made it a seven-point game, 57-50, in favor of Belmont with 6:33 remaining. E. Harmeyer countered with a three of her own to push BU back to a double-digit lead while holding Tennessee Tech scoreless for more than three minutes. TTU guard Jordan Brock broke the drought with a four-point play to make it, 62-54, Belmont heading into the final minutes. The Golden Eagles fought down to the final seconds, but the Bruins ultimately found a way to get it done down the stretch. 

GAME NOTES

  • Belmont extends its winning streak to 15 games, the fifth longest winning streak in the nation.
  • With 12 points tonight, Sally McCabe became Belmont's Division I era leading scorer bringing her career point total to 1,423. The mark surpasses Amber Rockwell's 1,418 (2006-10).
  • The Bruins have won their last 39 consecutive OVC games, boasting the second longest streak in the nation behind No. 1 UConn.
  • This marks the third straight season that BU as won at least 24 games in a season. It's 24-3 record is its best since 1993-94.
  • BU has won its last eight meetings with TTU, moving the all-time series record to 24-26.

UP NEXT

Belmont returns home to host Eastern Kentucky on Thursday, February 15 inside the Curb Event Center. The Bruins and the Colonels are scheduled for a 5 p.m. tip.