BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Despite 19 points and seven rebounds from senior Ellie Harmeyer, the Belmont Bruins dropped 77-46 to the Western Kentucky Lady Toppers at E.A. Diddle Arena Wednesday night.
Harmeyer tacked on seven rebounds, as sophomore Conley Chinn and freshman Kiki Britzmann combined for 12 points and seven rebounds. Senior Maddie Wright grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for the Bruins (2-1).
Senior Dee Givens propelled Western Kentucky (2-1) with 24 points on 5-of-10 shooting from behind the 3-point line.
The Lady Toppers jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the first quarter, before Chinn logged the first points of the night for Belmont just under two minutes into the game. Chinn went on to grab three defensive rebounds halfway through the first 10 minutes, but Western Kentucky held a 20-6 lead with one minute remaining in the quarter. Sophomore Allison Luly hit a jumper at the elbow to cut the Lady Topper advantage to 22-8 through one quarter of play.
A paint layup from Wright sparked a 12-2 run for the Bruins five minutes into the second quarter, as Harmeyer cut Western Kentucky's lead down to nine points at the 5:32 mark. The Lady Toppers hit three-consecutive shots from beyond-the-arc to extend their lead to 38-23 with three minutes left in the half. A Chinn 3-pointer in the final seconds widdled down Western Kentucky's halftime advantage to 40-26.
After being outscored 22-8 in the first quarter, Belmont stormed back to hold an even 18-18 scoring tally with the Lady Toppers in the second quarter. Harmeyer and Chinn meshed for 17 points and 10 rebounds in the first half for the Bruins.
The two teams came to a stalemate to start the second half, as they combined for just nine points over three minutes into the third quarter. Belmont went on to hold the Lady Toppers to their lowest-scoring quarter. The Bruins forced Western Kentucky to 5-of-14 shooting from the floor, but they still took a 57-36 lead into the final quarter.
Luly and Harmeyer accounted for all of Belmont's fourth quarter points halfway into the final frame. Despite holding the Lady Toppers to another quarter under 40 percent shooting, the Bruins were unable to close the gap. The freshman duo of Britzmann and Cam Browning logged the final four points of the game, as Western Kentucky notched the 77-46 home victory.
Overall, 24 of the Bruins' points came from underclassmen, including Chinn, Britzmann, Browning and sophomore Macie Culbertson. The Bruins recorded an equal 39-39 rebounding margin against the Lady Toppers, as Belmont grabbed 16 offensive boards.
NO EASY BUCKETS: The Bruins have held their opponents under 40 percent shooting in nine of their 12 quarters played this year.
STEADY HAND: Senior Ellie Harmeyer has posted double-digit points in 23 of her last 26 games for Belmont. Harmeyer's 39 rebounds slot her as a top-10 ranked board clearer in the NCAA so far this season.
UP NEXT: The Bruins return home to take on Northern Kentucky Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Curb Event Center.Belmont then hits the road to take on No. 22/22 ranked Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena next Wednesday.