DELAND, Fla. – The Belmont women's basketball team (9-15, 8-5 A-Sun) was plagued by spotting shooting and was unable to overcome a early deficit, falling on road at Stetson (20-6, 11-3 A-Sun), 68-46, on Thursday night. The loss marks is first for the Bruins on the road in DeLand since a February 2005 matchup.
The Bruins opened the first stanza sluggishly, allowing the Hatters to force a pair of turnovers and follow with a jumper and a three pointer. By the 15:22 mark, Stetson had pulled away by eight, 12-4. Belmont finally saw its first points of the night come from behind the arc with a triple by senior Tristan Daniel (Waynesboro, Tenn.) and a jumper in the paint by classmate Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.). Freshman Amara Mayers (Harvest, Ala.) drilled Belmont's first three pointer of the night with 11 minutes on the clock to move BU to within striking distance, 14-11, but the team struggled to find the basket that would knot the score.
A monster block by freshman Adrienne Tarrence (Bowling Green, Ky.) opened the door for a jumper by sophomore Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.) to move the Bruins to within three, 18-15, four minutes later but that would be as close as BU would come for the remainder of the contest. A layup by senior Cacy Burtnett (Cleveland, Tenn.) moved Belmont to within five but Stetson closed the half with 14-0 run including a three at the buzzer to take a 39-22 lead into the locker room.
After the break, the Hatters came out hot again, opening with a 6-0 run to go up, 45-22, just 90 seconds into the half. The Bruins finally got on the board behind a three-point conversion by Daniel, cutting the deficit to 20, 45-25. BU remained on the hunt for the right combination of scoring opportunities and defensive measures to effectively close the gap early in the second half but kept being hampered by turnovers and spotty shooting.
After emerging from a scoring drought that tipped into its fourth minute midway through the half, the Bruins again began connecting all over the floor in hopes of climbing the point mountain that was laid before them. A pair at the stripe by junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) would inch the Bruins to within 18, 53-35, with 7:44 on the clock but that would be as close as they would come for the remainder of the contest. Stetson put together an eight point run to extend its lead to 63-38 with 4:30 left on the clock after freshman Katie Carroll (Lilburn, Ga.) was able to connect on one of two at the line.
BU would trim Stetson's lead down to 20 behind three at the stripe by Ernst and a jumper by Mayers but the Hatters held on for 68-46 win.
Stetson shot 41.8 percent from the floor, 40 percent from three-point range and 92.3 percent from the free-throw line. The Hatters held the advantage in assists, 14-12, and steals, 15-6.
SU was led in scoring by Sasha Sims, who recorded 21 points. Victoria McGowan and C.J. Coddington contributed 16 and 11 points, respectively.
Belmont shot 39 percent from the hardwood, 22.2 percent from behind the three-point arc and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe. The Bruins held the advantage in rebounds, 31-29, and blocks, 5-3.
Ernst led the Bruins with 15 points. Daniel and Nelson added eight points each while Nelson finished with a game-high 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday on the road at Florida Gulf Coast. Tip-off is slated for 7:30pm ET. The contest can be heard live via the internet on the Bruins Sports Network and seen live on ASun.TV. Live stats and a Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available.