CORPUS CHRISTI – Belmont had a strong first-half performance and shot 56 percent from the field to hand the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's basketball team a 75-54 loss in the season opener Sunday afternoon at the American Bank Center. The Islanders fell behind early and couldn't overcome the hot shooting of the Bruins.
Freshman Janae Blount paced the Islanders (0-1) in double figures with 14 points including 3-for-6 from behind the arc and Brandi Huff led the glass with a game-high seven rebounds. Three Bruins posted double figures, led by Julianne Downs' 18 points. She contributed to three of Belmont's eight three pointers which included six in the first half.
Belmont (1-1) opened the game with an 8-0 run before the Islanders jumped on board with a jumper by Morgan Schwartz. The Bruins extended the lead to 12-2 before Jessica Jammer and Verne'qua Taylor trimmed the lead to six. Belmont pushed the lead to 19-6 after back-to-back layups and a three pointer by Downs. The Islanders responded cutting the lead to seven after two free throws by Damequia Montgomery and back-to-back buckets by Ashley Darley.
Belmont built a 13-point cushion on a 10-3 run that included consecutive three's. After a three-point play by Montgomery, the Bruins tacked on seven straight points to take a 32-15 lead with 4:41 to play.
After trading baskets, Ashanti Plummer added two free throws to cut the lead to 16, and Blount triggered the Islanders' first three of the game after a bucket by Belmont's Frankie Joubran.
The Bruins went on a 5-2 run to close the half and headed into the locker room with a 41-23 lead on 55.2 percent shooting from the field. The Islanders shot just 25 percent from the field but was 8-for-9 from the charity stripe. Montgomery and Blount paced the team with five points apiece and Schwartz led the glass with four rebounds.
Out of the half, the Bruins' Jordan Colman hit back-to-back buckets and Darley added two free throws. Another 4-0 run by the Bruins gave them their biggest lead of the game with 16:24 to play. After trading free throws, Jammer hit the Islanders' first jumper of the second half to pull within 20.
After a mini 5-0 run by Belmont, Huff and Taryn Gregory hit a pair of baskets before Belmont's Blair Bryce put the Bruins back up by 24. Marquesha Anderson-Sparks came off the bench to trigger her first trey of the game but Belmont responded with a three of their own to push the lead back up to 24.
The Islanders went on a 9-2 run after an Anderson-Sparks layup and a three-point play by Blount. Belmont hit a layup before Blount triggered her second three pointer of the game and Huff added a free throw to trim the Bruin's lead to 16. Blount tallied another trey after a jumper by Belmont's Alyssa Visbeen to pull the Islanders within 15 with 5:15 to play. However, Belmont put together an 8-2 run to end the game to win their first game of the season, 75-54.
The Islanders will trek to Edinburg, Texas, to face Texas - Pan American in their first road game of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m.
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