NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Every winning streak starts with a single victory, and the Belmont women's basketball team collected an emphatic W on Thursday evening against Morehead State.
The Bruins throttled the Eagles with suffocating defense to notch a 77-50 victory at the Curb Event Center. The win boosts Belmont to 9-5 and 2-1 in Ohio Valley Conference games in the team's first outing since seeing its 47-game OVC win streak snapped last Saturday by Tennessee Tech.
"Last week we did not play Belmont basketball," said senior Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.), who led all players with 21 points Thursday. "Every time we step out on the floor, we know we have an opportunity to do something that's really, really special. We don't ever take that for granted. We played with that type of attitude and that type of mentality tonight."
Morehead State (10-6, 1-2 OVC), which entered Thursday's game as the top-scoring team in the OVC, never led in a dominant wire-to-wire performance by the Bruins. Things really took a turn in Belmont's favor after halftime though.
Leading just 37-31 at the break after MSU junior and conference-scoring-leader Aliyah Jeune drilled a late 3-pointer, the Bruins returned to the court like they were shot out of a cannon. A 13-2 Belmont run, sparked by six quick points from junior Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wis.), thrust the Bruins out to a comfortable lead and was a sign of things to come.
Belmont out-scored Morehead State 40-19 in the second half, leading by as many as 29 points with three insignificant minutes remaining.
"(Head Coach Bart Brooks's) message was to keep up the energy and the intensity," senior Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) said of Brooks's halftime speech. "The first five minutes are so big in the third. We just had to keep this train rolling."
The Eagles entered the day scoring 84.4 points per game, the best mark among OVC teams and No. 7 in the entire NCAA. Facing a determined Belmont defense, MSU finished with its fewest points of the season. Morehead State turned the ball over 15 times, nine of which came in the influential third quarter.
"A big thing for us was transition D'," Roy explained. "We knew they liked to get out and run, so we had a big focus on three players crashing (the boards) and two back (on defense). I think that made a difference.
"We knew if we played one-on-one (defense), that's not our strength. Five of us guarding them, that's what we did and we were able to do it well."
Harmeyer notched her fourth straight 20-point game with 20 on the dot and added nine rebounds. Roy joined Harmeyer and Maggard in double figures scoring with 15 points and Maura Muensterman also scored 12.
Belmont made 14 threes, five coming from Maggard and four from Harmeyer.
Up Next: Belmont closes its season-long four-game homestand against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Curb.