NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville women's basketball bowed out of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday with a 62-45 loss to third-seeded Belmont in the quarterfinals.
The Cougars completed the season with a 16-14 record. Belmont, now 18-12, moves on to play second-seeded Tennessee Tech in the OVC Tournament semifinals Friday.
"It might have been a little frustrating game for us," SIUE coach Paula Buscher said. "We just didn't quite shoot the ball as well as we're used to shooting the ball, and that makes it a little bit tough.
"I'm really proud of this team, the fight that we have out there. I think you saw it until the buzzer went off. I think that's how you play the game, and that's how we're going to build a great program."
SIUE couldn't find its offensive rhythm in the first half and scored a season-low 12 points against the Bruins over the first 20 minutes. For the game, SIUE shot a season-low 22.2 percent from the field (16-for-72).
"I thought Belmont did a great job," Buscher said. "I thought they shut down our primary moves. We had to go to some counter moves. We weren't as successful with that."
Belmont pulled out to a 17-point lead at halftime behind seven 3-pointers, including three from Molly Ernst off the bench. The Bruins averaged five per game during the season.
Senior Raven Berry, a Collinsville High graduate, scored all 10 of her points in the second half and recorded 38th career double-double with 12 rebounds.
Althoff graduate Jazmin Hill, who moved into second place all-time in 3-pointers made, joined Berry in double figures with 10 points for the Cougars.
"They did a pretty good job not allowing me to catch the ball and coming and trapping me down low, taking away my primary moves," Berry said. "You have to give props to them because they did a great job."
Berry moved into fifth place all-time in scoring with 1,484 points.
Adrienne Terrence led all scorers with 14 points off the bench for Belmont. She scored 11 of her points in the second half. Katie Brooks was the only other player in double figures with 12 points. Belmont shot 40.9 percent for the game (18-for-44).
"I think we held a very good Belmont team to 62 points, and they hit seven 3s, so that's pretty darn good defense," Buscher said. "It really amounted to we didn't put the ball in the hole as many times as we needed to."
The Cougars scored 16 second-chance points off their 26 offensive rebounds. All 14 SIUE points off turnovers came in the second half.
Buscher said the Cougars will be better in the future because of this year's senior class of Berry, Michaela Herrod, Kiara Conner, Courtney Kenner and Brooke Smith.
"I've got nothing but respect for our senior class that laid this foundation," Buscher said. "Now it's up to the young ones to step up and take over with it."
Hill, who will be a senior for the Cougars next season, said the Cougars have to fight on.
"We're going to have so much more to fight for because our seniors laid such a foundation for us," she said. "We owe it to them to advance, do our best, and try to win (the tournament) next year."