EIU Women's Basketball Squad Falls in Conference Opener


Published on December 30 2016 10:46 am
Last Updated on December 30 2016 10:46 am
Written by Millie Lange

The Eastern Illinois women's basketball team fell in their conference opener to Belmont 77-58 Thursday evening as the Bruins utilized an early lead to earn the win. With the loss the Panthers fall to 4-9 overall an 0-1 in the conference while defending OVC tournament champions Belmont improve to 9-5, 1-0.

Sophomore Brittin Boyer led the way for EIU with a milestone night earning 14 points and eight rebounds to set new career highs  in both categories while tying her career high with three assists.

The Bruins jumped out in front early going on an 8-0 run midway through the first period thanks to back-to-back threes from Belmont's Jenny Roy and Darby Maggard to make it 14-6 at the 4:24 mark. Belmont managed to close out the first quarter leading 19-13 shooting 58 percent for the period.

The Panthers pulled back into the game in the start of the second quarter as a three-pointer from Grace Lennox made it 19-18 with 8:54 left in the half. Lennox finished the game with 12 points and two assists. Both teams traded buckets throughout the quarter until a small 6-0 run from the Bruins gave Belmont a 32-25 cushion with 4:36 to go. The Bruins scored the final five points of the half to head into halftime ahead of EIU 37-27.

The Panthers finished the first half shooting 37.5 percent while Belmont shot 52 percent from the floor.

Belmont added to their lead in the third quarter going on a 9-0 run midway through the period capped off by a three-pointer from Maggard to make it 53-35 at the 4:32 mark. Late quarter free throws from Erica Brown and Boyer chipped into the Bruins lead as EIU headed into the fourth quarter trailing 57-44. Brown finished the game recording 13 points and six rebounds.

EIU got as close as 11 points early in the fourth quarter following back-to-back layups from Boyer to make it 59-48 at the 8:52 mark, but that would be as close as the Panthers would get. Belmont pushed their lead to as high as 22 points in the final quarter following another three-point bucket from Maggard before earning the win by a score of 58-77.

Belmont had four players score in double-figures with Maggard, Roy, and Lauren Thompson all recording 15 points. Roy finished with a double-double adding 11 rebounds to her 15 points.

The Panthers have a quick turnaround as they now prepare to host Jacksonville State Saturday at 1 p.m.