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Grinding it Out

Grinding it Out

MOREHEAD, Ky. – Three players in double-figure scoring helped the Belmont Bruins to a 63-56 road victory over the Morehead State Eagles Thursday evening at Johnson Arena.

Senior Ellie Harmeyer fueled the Bruins (18-8, 13-2 OVC) with her 19th double-double of the year, as she finished with 27 points and 19 rebounds. The OVC and TSWA Player of the Week also shot an impressive 16-for-17 clip from the foul line. 

Sophomore Jamilyn Kinney added 12 points and three assists, while junior Madison Treece chipped in 10 points and three rebounds. Overall, Belmont held the Eagles (9-18, 5-10 OVC) to 35 percent shooting from the field and led by a 44-36 margin on the boards.

Junior Jazzymn Elston registered a team-high 11 points for Morehead State, while senior Breuna Jackson and freshman Ariel Kirkwood tallied 10 points apiece.

Sophomore Allison Luly scored four points out of the gate to give the Bruins a 7-3 lead in the first three minutes of the first quarter. A 3-pointer from Kinney extended the Belmont lead to 11-5 with 5:14 left in the period. The Eagles responded with an 8-0 over the next three minutes, but Kinney struck again on a fastbreak to knot the game up at 13-13. Kinney nailed a pair of free throws with one minute remaining, but Morehead State still took a 20-15 lead into the second quarter. 

Freshman Cam Browning opened the second period with a paint layup at the 9:37 mark, as the Bruins held the Eagles scoreless through the first three minutes of the quarter. Belmont was unable to gain traction until the halfway mark of the period, when four-straight points from Treece put the Bruins within one possession of the lead. A pair of free throws and a 3-pointer from Harmeyer on consecutive possessions regained the lead for Belmont, 31-28 with 35 seconds left in the half. Morehead State scored in the final seconds of the quarter, but the Bruins held a 31-30 advantage going into the half.

At halftime, Kinney and Harmeyer combined for 16 points as Belmont held a 21-18 advantage on the boards. The Bruins held the Eagles to 38 percent shooting, but only shot 40 percent themselves. Treece chipped in five points from the bench through 20 minutes of play.

Senior Maura Muensterman capped off a small 5-0 run for the Bruins early in the second half with a 3-pointer at the 7:19 mark. An and-one from Harmeyer one minute later gifted Belmont a 38-32 advantage. Morehead State narrowed its deficit with a fastbreak layup with 2:29 remaining. Harmeyer answered with four-consecutive free throws, while the Bruins took a 46-37 lead to the final period.

A deep range 3-pointer from Kinney at the 8:15 mark of the fourth quarter boosted the Belmont advantage to 51-39. Both teams traded buckets to finish out the game, as Harmeyer and Treece combined for all but three of the Bruins' fourth-quarter points. Harmeyer put the game on ice with seven-straight free throws made in the final five minutes of the game. The Eagles hit two free throws in the last minute of the period, but Belmont still tallied the 63-56 road win.

In total, seven Bruins scored on the night and eight grabbed a rebound, as Muensterman, Luly and senior Maddie Wright combined for 12 points in the starting lineup. Freshman Nikki Baird snagged a career-high five rebounds, as Belmont dished out 11 total team assists and shot 85 percent from the charity stripe (23-of-27).

FINISHING STRONG: With a win over Morehead State, the Bruins extended their winning streak to five games, which ties their longest streak of the year. 

PEAK PERFORMANCES: For the second time this season, Ellie Harmeyer has recorded three-straight 20-point double-doubles. Her 19 rebounds against the Eagles came one board short of tying her career high, which she set on Nov. 9, 2019 against UCF. 

CLIMBING THE LEADERBOARDS: With 27 points versus Morehead State, Ellie Harmeyer now holds 1,505 career points. She is one of just nine Belmont women's basketball players in program history with over 1,500 points in a career. Harmeyer has also racked up the fifth-most career rebounds of any player in program history (937).

PAINT PRESENCE: With 26 points in the paint against the Eagles, Belmont has finished with 25-plus paint points in each of their last five contests. The Bruins have reached the mark in 10 total conference matchups this season.

UP NEXT: Belmont finishes its road swing with a Saturday contest against Eastern Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. CT at McBrayer Arena in Richmond, Ky.

QUOTES:

Bart Brooks, Head Coach

"We felt like we had an advantage with Ellie (Harmeyer) in a lot of matchups because they had trouble guarding her at the rim. I thought she did a great job of keeping us afloat when we were struggling on the defensive end." 

"(Morehead State) is a really athletic, talented team. If they can get the open floor and get to the basket they are good at getting rotations and getting on the glass. Our zone slowed them down a little bit and got them out of rhythm."