Bellarmine Stops SIU-Edwardsville in GLVC Opener
March 2, 2007, EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Bellarmine women’s basketball team advanced to the Great Lakes Valley Conference semifinals today by defeating SIU-Edwardsville, 68-55, at Roberts Stadium. The Knights (19-9) will attempt to give head coach David Smith his 500th career coaching victory tomorrow when they face No. 9 Lewis at 6:00 pm. The Flyers defeated Southern Indiana 63-48 this evening.
In today’s game, Bellarmine saw a comfortable 34-25 halftime lead evaporate in the first five minutes of the second half against SIU-Edwardsville (20-8). The Knights responded by running off a 16-4 spurt to regain control of the game midway through the half, then held a double-digit lead for nearly all of the final 10 minutes of the contest to secure the win.
Four of Bellarmine’s starters registered double-digits, led by Angela Smith (Greenville, Ind.) who had 18 points on a 4-of-8 performance from beyond the 3-point arc. Center Ashley Lewallen (Louisville/Butler) added 14 points and seven boards, while point guard Denasha Mondy (Louisville/Ballard) had 14 points and a team-high four assists.
Bellarmine nailed 7 of their 14 3-point attempts, and hit 11 of 12 from the free throw line for the game.
In the first half, both teams looked a little nervous, combining for 19 turnovers. Bellarmine even had a pair of airballs in the early going but still managed a quick 14-7 lead. SIU-Edwardsville used three straight post scores to cut the margin to 25-22, but Bellarmine forward Dana Beaven (Corydon, Ind.) and Mondy sparked a run late in the half. Beaven hit a pair of free throws, then Mondy registered a nifty left-handed lay-up, followed by a cross-over move in the lane, putting her squad up 31-24. Beaven gave the Knights their biggest lead of the half by drilling a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:42 left to put them up 34-24.
In the second half, Bellarmine committed four turnovers and missed four shots in their first nine possessions as the Cougars rallied. Forward Amber Shelton used a shot fake at the free throw line, then drove to the basket to cut Bellarmine’s lead to 36-35 with 15:21 left on the clock.
A few moments later, Cougar guard Whitney Sykes scored to give SIU-Edwardsville their only lead of the half, 39-38 with 14:46. Angela Smith immediately responded, though, hitting a 3-pointer in front of Bellarmine’s bench to put the Knights up 41-39 and swing the momentum back in her team’s favor. SIU-Edwardsville missed a three on their end the next possession and after a media time-out, Mondy scored on an in-bounds play to make it 43-39. A few moments later, Smith hit another three from the same spot on the left wing putting the Knights up 48-41. The Cougars were unable to cut the margin to fewer than seven points the rest of the way.
SIU-Edwardsville forward Julianne McMillen led all scorers with 19 points. Shelton had 17.
Bellarmine improves to 12-8 all-time in the GLVC tournament. Tip-off for their semifinal game tomorrow is 6:00 pm CST at Roberts Stadium.