EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Freshman Destinee Wells scored a career-high 32 points and Belmont earned the first bid to the NCAA Tournament with an 83-75 win over Tennessee Martin on Saturday in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship game.
Belmont (20-5) will take a 10-game winning streak into their fifth NCAA Tournament.
Wells scored nine of Belmont’s last 13 points which included a 3-pointer and 6-for-6 shooting from the foul line to help hold off the Skyhawks. She scored 11 points in the second quarter when the Bruins broke the game open, and finished with seven assists and four steals.
The second-seeded Bruins were up 19 with 7 1/2 minutes to go when top-seeded Tennessee Martin applied a press. Belmont responded with six turnovers that led to 13 Skyhawks points. Demi Burdick’s basket brought Tennessee Martin with 70-63 with five minutes to go before Wells took over.
Jamilyn Kenney scored 15 points for the Bruins, Madison Bartley 13 and Conley Chinn 11.
Dasia Young scored 19 points with nine rebounds for the Skyhawks (20-5), who had an eight-game winning streak snapped. Chelsey Perry and Paige Pipkin added 16 each.
It was the fourth time the two teams met in the championship with Belmont winning three, the last coming in 2019 when the Bruins capped off four-straight tourney titles. Tennessee Martin won the regular-season meeting 66-63.
Belmont, leading 14-12 after one quarter, hit 10 of 16 shots, five of them 3-pointers, in the second quarter to take a 41-26 lead at the half. UT Martin had seven turnovers.
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