By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Some cold second-half shooting proved too much to overcome for the Lady Colonels as they fell, 65-49, to Belmont (11-8, 7-1) Monday in Nashville.
EKU (10-6, 4-2 OVC) was leading 39-36 with 16:47 to go in the game when the Lady Bruins caught fire, going on a 22-4 run while holding the Lady Colonels scoreless for more than nine minutes, to take a commanding 58-43 lead with just over four minutes to go.
The Lady Colonels couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half against the Lady Bruins defense, shooting only 26.7 percent from the field and going one-of-five from behind the three-point line.
“We struggled offensively executing. We knew it was going to be tough. They are a strong defensive team and you’ve got to grind it out, be willing to set screens, cut hard and you’ve got to be aggressive,” EKU coach Chrissy Roberts said in a radio interview. “I felt like at times we were rushing some things and not let the offense come to us. If we execute and cut right on the screens, at some point we will get a good look.”
Jade Barber led three Lady Colonels in double figures with 14 points. She also pulled down eight rebounds despite playing only 23 minutes in the game due to foul trouble. Barber picked up her second foul in the first half and then picked up a technical foul for contesting the call, which gave her three and sent her to the bench with 6:49 to go in the first half.
Raechelle Gray finished with 11 points, all in the first half, and Alex Jones picked up her 30th career double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, moving her into sole possession of second place on the all time double-double list at EKU.
The Lady Colonels got some good minutes from Marie Carpenter and Miranda Maples off the bench.
Maples, filling in for Barber after she got in foul trouble, finished with a career-high eight points, pulled down three rebounds and had one assist and one blocked shot in 13 minutes of play.
Carpenter had two points and three rebounds in the game. But although she struggled shooting the ball in her return to her hometown, she played strong defense all night, forcing Belmont players into several turnovers.
After shooting 36.4 percent in the first half, the Lady Colonels cooled off considerably in the second half and finished the game shooting 31.7 percent. They were only two-of-12 from behind the three-point line for 16.7 percent.
Belmont shot 41.5 percent from the field and a red-hot 43.8 percent from behind the arc.
The Lady Colonels were out-rebounded, 39-37. EKU turned the ball over 13 times, while forcing Belmont into 16 turnovers. The Lady Colonels converted those turnovers into 18 points, while Belmont had nine points off turnovers.
The Lady Colonels won’t have long to wait to get another shot at redemption against Belmont. The Lady Bruins come to McBrayer Arena on Saturday.
Roberts said that gives them a few days to correct some of their mistakes.
“We know what to expect. We’ve just got to take the next couple of days this week and get better executing,” Roberts said. “We know what we are going to see defensively. We’ve got to be ready to come out and be willing to set the screens and cut hard and work at it because it is not going to be easy.”
Game time for the rematch with Belmont is 4 p.m. Saturday.