From Belmont Sports Information
Nashville, Tn – Despite a strong defensive effort, the Belmont women’s basketball team (12-15, 9-5 OVC) saw its five-game win streak snapped on Saturday afternoon by Eastern Illinois (12-13, 7-7 OVC).
The Panthers used a late rally to hold off the Bruins, 54-48, at the Curb Event Center.
Both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm to open the contest.
EIU scored first on a three by Katyln Payne but redshirt freshman Frankie Joubran (Detroit, Mich.) drove into the paint to add the first two for the Bruins.
A layup by freshman Lauren Thompson (Franklin, Tenn.) put BU on top, 6-3, by the 14:16 mark.
Belmont hustled to pull away five minutes later, fueled by a 6-0 run with shots coming from junior Jordyn Luffman (Lawrenceburg, Tenn.) at the line and Joubran, to lead 12-4.
EIU looked to shots behind the arc spark a 7-0 run to grab the lead, going up 15-12 by the 4:45 mark.
Suddenly, the teams began trading baskets in the final four minutes, exchanging a slim one-point lead down the stretch.
The Panthers went up 19-18 with 31 ticks left but Luffman drilled her first three of the afternoon to give Belmont a 21-19 lead heading into the locker room.
The slow start carried over into the second half with neither able to find the bottom of net for the first three minutes of play.
Finally, the teams resumed the trading baskets frenzy similar to the end of the first stanza. By the 13 minute mark, another triple by Luffman and a jumper by Joubran put BU ahead, 30-27.
The Panthers answered back with an 8-0 run to take the lead, 35-30, three minutes later, capitalizing on a trio of BU turnovers.
The icy offensive spell for Belmont was snapped with a trey from the top of the arc by Luffman, her third of the game.
Junior Adrienne Tarrence (Bowling Green, Ky.) converted a three-point opportunity to keep BU within four, 40-36, with 6:45 remaining on the clock.
The Bruins kept pushing and used a three by junior Taylor Mills (Corryton, Tenn.) to knot the score at 42 three minutes later.
The teams once again resorted to trading baskets in the waning minutes. However, it would be Eastern Illinois, who would string together a 10-2 run in the final 90 seconds that would put the contest out of reach for Belmont.
A pair of free throws with three seconds left sealed the 54-48 victory for the Panthers.
Eastern Illinois shot 42 percent from the floor, 55.6 percent from three-point range and 58.3 percent from the free-throw line. The Panthers held the advantage in steals, 6-4.
EIU was led in scoring by Katlyn Payne, who netted 16 points. Jordyne Crunk added 12 points in the effort. Sabina Oroszova grabbed 13 rebounds.
Belmont shot 35.2 percent from the hardwood, 31.6 percent from behind the three-point arc and 57.1 percent from the charity stripe. The Bruins held the advantage in rebounds, 40-28. The teams were even in assists at 13 and blocks with two each.
Luffman netted a game-high 19 points. Joubran and Thompson each contributed eight points. Joubran pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds. Luffman also collected a pair of steals.
Belmont returns to action on Monday night, on the road at Eastern Kentucky.
Game time is slated for 6:00pm CT.
Fans can watch the game live on the OVC Digital Network and can listen to Dr. Rich Tiner on the play-by-play call on the Bruins Sports Network. Live stats and an in-game Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available.