Morehead State's women's basketball team nearly erased as much as a 16-point deficit Monday night at Belmont's Curb Event Center, but the host Bruins held on for a 71-65 victory.
Belmont improved to 8-14 overall and 5-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference, while MSU fell to 9-12 overall and 3-5 in the league.
MSU trailed 47-31 early in the second half, but outscored the hosts 27-10 over a 13-minute span and took a 58-57 advantage with 5:57 remaining. A jumper by senior guard Terrice Robinson gave MSU a 61-59 lead at the 4:48 mark, but the Bruins outscored MSU 12-6 in crunch time.
“We got over the hump in the second half, but we just couldn't stay there,” Head Coach Tom Hodges said. “It's a shame because our kids played really hard in the second half, and we had a chance to win a crucial road game.”
MSU's previous lead was way back at 19-18 with 9:43 left in the opening half following Robinson's layup, but the hosts hit their next six field goals and added eight of their 15 first-half free throws in a 22-8 scoring spurt. Belmont led 45-31 at the half.
Robinson finished with a team-best 27 points, her team-best ninth 20-point effort and 17th double-figure game. She upped her career total 1,046 and moved into 19th place in career scoring in program history.
“Terrice put us on her back,” Hodges added. “I think she probably got a little winded late, but I thought there for a while, Belmont didn't have an answer for her.”
Belmont placed four players in double figures, led by Katie Carroll's 16. Taylor Mills came off the bench for 14. Jordyn Luffman scored 12 and grabbed a game-best 11 rebounds. Lauren Thompson provided 10 off the bench.
MSU junior guard Almesha Jones registered 16 points and a team-best six assists. She now has 31 assists in the last five games and has reached double-figures all five as well. Junior forward Mackenzie Arledge chipped in nine points and eight rebounds. The Bruins only out-rebounded MSU 34-31.
“Almesha got roughed up a lot, but she is a gutty performer,” Hodges said. “That's why she is an all-league player.”
After getting to the free throw line just three times in the first half, MSU nailed 13-of-17 in the final 20 minutes. The Eagles were 9-of-26 from three point range and shot 35 percent (20-of-57) overall.
Belmont nailed 50 percent (14-of-28) in the opening half and finished with a 46 percent (21-of-45) efficiency.
It marked Belmont's fourth straight victory over Morehead State.