NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A career scoring day from Ellie Harmeyer and a raucous record crowd at the Curb Event Center weren't enough to help the Belmont women's basketball team overcome Toledo and a slow start Thursday.
The Rockets fired on all cylinders to jump out to a 24-10 first-quarter lead, and Toledo fended off the Bruins' second-half rally for a 78-69 final. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for Belmont (4-2).
"We didn't come out ready to play today," said Harmeyer, a junior from Kenosha, Wis., who netted a game-high 26 points. "Just on hustle plays, effort plays, that all went to Toledo. They out-worked us and that's something we'll need to learn from for the next game so we'll be ready."
The Bruins adjusted well after Toledo (4-2) shot 62.5 percent (10-of-16) in the first quarter to clamp down on defense in the middle quarters. The Rockets missed all but two of their next 19 shots while Belmont steadily cut into the deficit.
Belmont took its first lead, 37-36, three minutes into the third quarter. Harmeyer hit a pair free throws on a possession set up by one of senior teammate Jenny Roy's (Brentwood, Tenn.) five steals.
The teams traded blows, pulling into the final quarter break even at 45-45. The Rockets refueled to shoot 72.7 percent (8-of-11) from the field in the fourth and 16-of-20 at the free-throw line.
The game wouldn't have been in reach without Harmeyer, who scored 19 points in the second half alone. That was one shy of her career high for an entire game.
"The second half, one of the focuses was getting the ball inside to Ellie," Belmont Head Coach Bart Brooks said. "She did a good job of converting a lot of plays, but she's still not playing like we know she can play. There's even better basketball ahead for Ellie."
The Best Field Trip Ever event brought 2,000 elementary and middle school aged children to the Curb Event Center on Thursday and helped set a record attendance for a women's basketball game at the arena. A total of 2,461 fans were in attendance, surpassing the previous high mark of 2,278 set against Tennessee State during homecoming last year.
UP NEXT: Belmont's non-conference schedule continues Sunday with a road trip to Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference.