By Dalton McGlone, Staff Writer
The Bellarmine women’s basketball team treated the homecoming fans to an exciting 60-53 win over McKendree University in Knights Hall Saturday.
The win extended Bellarmine’s winning streak to three and its home winning streak to four. The Knights improved to 13-9 on the season (7-7 Great Lakes Valley Conference) while McKendree fell to 12-12 (6-9 GLVC).
Both teams struggled offensively. McKendree shot 34 percent from the field, while Bellarmine shot just under 40 percent. At times, it appeared neither team wanted to take a shot. The score was tied at 24 at halftime.
McKendree found a rhythm in the third quarter. By capitalizing on free throws and offensive rebounds, the Bearcats clawed to a 6-point lead with nine seconds left in the third. To make matters worse for the Knights, McKendree added a 3-pointer at the buzzer to go up by nine.
“That three (at the buzzer) was a dagger,” Bellarmine head coach Chancellor Dugan said. “Going into the fourth, I told them, ‘Look ladies. We’ve been down more than this… At the five-minute mark, we have to be leading.’”
Bellarmine looked like a completely different team in the fourth quarter. The Knights played intense full-court defense and forced 12 turnovers in the quarter.
Freshman guard Presley Brown, who didn’t play a single minute in the first three quarters, provided a much-needed spark off the bench. In seven minutes, Brown recorded eight points, two steals and a block.
“Coach Dugan tells us to always be ready, no matter who you are,” Brown said. “I didn’t get playing time the first three quarters, but I knew that we needed a spark off the bench… I got stops on defense, and it carried over to my offense.”
The Knights closed the gap by scoring off turnovers. With 3:39 left on the clock, junior guard Mikayla Berry tied the game at 51 with a close-range jumper. After a McKendree miss, freshman Bailee Harney drilled a contested 3-pointer as the shot clock hit zero to give Bellarmine a 54-51 lead with 2:49 remaining. Bellarmine held McKendree scoreless for the rest of the game.
“We started running a play,” Harney said. “We ran out of time, and everyone was screaming at me, ‘Three! Two! One!’ I didn’t even know (the shot-clock was expiring). There was nothing else we could do, so I just shot it.”
Bellarmine will host the University of Indianapolis Thursday at 5:45 p.m. Indianapolis is 9-15 overall and 3-11 in the GLVC.