Belmont hit 11 of 19 three-pointers and shot 52.5 percent from the field, collecting a 92-68 win over the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville women's basketball in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Municipal Auditorium.
The Cougars closed out the OVC Tournament with an 18-13 record while Belmont, 23-8, moves on to play Eastern Kentucky in Saturday's championship game.
"Obviously for us, it's a frustrating loss," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "It's not the way we wanted to end our season. It's not the way I wanted these two (Shronda Butts and CoCo Moore) to go out."
The Bruins shot 52.5 percent from the field for the game with five players scoring in double figures. Sally McCabe led Belmont with 21 points, including one of the team's 11 three-pointers. Five different players scored three-pointers for the second-seeded Bruins, which scored 20 or more points in each of the four periods.
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Darby Maggard hit four three-pointers and finished with 18 points and a game-high 10 assists. Ellie Harmeyer was a perfect 3 for 3 from three-point range and scored 11 points overall. Kylee Smith knocked down two three-pointers and scored 14 for the game.
"You have to give Belmont credit," said Buscher. "They came out tonight and were the aggressors for 40 minutes."
Belmont used its edge in rebounding to push past the Cougars. The Bruins outrebounded SIUE 44-23 and outscored the Cougars 20-6 on second-chance points.
SIUE's Donshel Beck led the Cougar offense with 20 points and nine rebounds. The Cougar sophomore has now scored in double digits in all four OVC Tournament games in which she has played.
Seniors Shronda Butts and CoCo Moore added double-digit scoring efforts with 16 and 11 points, respectively.
Butts, who scored more than 1,100 points in her two seasons with the Cougars, set a new school record for free throws made in a season with 174, breaking the record set by SIUE Athletics Hall of Famers Misi Clark and Kim Lowe who each had 171.
Moore finished her collegiate career 21st on the all-time scoring list with 1,034 points.
Buscher reflected on her seniors.
"Any time it's this last game you're tugged," said Buscher. "You really appreciate everything they have given to the program, and they have sacrificed a lot. They have brought us to a really good place. The thing people don't see is how these two have grown as people."
Senior Raven Warford also broke new ground for the Cougars, becoming the second player in school history with 100 blocks. She recorded No. 100 in the fourth period.