By Olivia Russell, Sports writer
The Bellarmine women’s basketball team remained undefeated Dec. 5 after defeating the McKendree University Bearcats 64-49. The victory extended the Knights’ record to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Knights are 6-0 after defeating Alderson-Broaddus 82-73 Friday.
The GLVC matchup against McKendree was broadcast live on ESPN3, bringing a larger crowd than usual to Knights Hall. The Bellarmine squad used this energy to its advantage in another dominating performance.
Coach Chancellor Dugan said she was very pleased with the support her team received.
“I was very happy with the fan support and I thought we played some inspired basketball at times,” Dugan said.
The Bearcats only led once throughout all four quarters, and it was on a made free throw within the first minute. Junior Whitney Hartlage’s jump shot with 7:36 left in the first quarter put the Knights ahead, and they never fell behind for the remainder of the game.
The Bellarmine victory did not come without challenges. With plenty of missed shots in the opening minutes of the game, the Knights had to learn how to maneuver the McKendree defense to play to their potential.
“Their post players were very physical, and we had to learn how to attack them first and settle in,” junior Destiny Curry said.
Despite the loss, McKendree head coach Kari Kerkhoff was pleased with her team’s performance on defense.
“I’m proud of our defense for holding them to just 64 points. They average 85 points a game, and that’s what we can hang our hats on.”
Senior Sarah Galvin led Bellarmine’s offense. Galvin finished with 18 points, draining two of her three 3-point attempts. Hartlage added 13 points, while Raven Merriweather and Beth Bowers each contributed 11.
Freshman Ally Mayhaus held a strong presence on the opposite end of the court, leading the Knights on defense. Seven of her eight rebounds were defensive rebounds. The 6-foot-2-inch center also tallied two blocks in her 19 minutes of play.
Curry said she was impressed with the support the Knights received for their internet-broadcast game.
“We had a bigger crowd here, and I definitely think that contributed,” Curry said. “But as far as ESPN being here, I think we just played it as a normal game and didn’t pay attention to the cameras. We’re excited, and appreciate Knights Nation and all the fans that showed up today.”
Bellarmine returns to Knights Hall on Dec. 19 to play Ferris State University in the Bellarmine Classic at 3 p.m.