Wells leads Belmont women to OVC title, NCAA tournament

March 5, 2022 GMT

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Destinee Wells scored 22 points and Belmont’s defense overwhelmed Tennessee Tech for a 51-29 win in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game on Saturday, sending the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in seven years.

Top-seeded Belmont, which won four-straight titles from 2016-19 and again last season, limited the second-seeded Golden Eagles to 17% shooting (9 of 52) and forced 17 turnovers to win its 12th-straight game.

Wells, a sophomore who was tournament MVP for the second time, was the only player in the game to reach double figures. She had 10 in the third quarter when the Bruins took control, making 8 of 14 shots. Wells has back-to-back with four 3-pointers early for a seven-point lead and Blair Schoenwald added consecutive 3-pointers in a 73-second span late in the quarter as the Bruins extended to a 38-24 lead.

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The teams split in the regular season, both winning on the road. Belmont (22-7) won 58-49 and Tennessee Tech (20-10) won 57-55.

After Mackenzie Coleman gave Tennessee Tech a 5-2 lead with a 3-pointer, the Golden Eagles missed their next seven shots. They then made back-to-back shots in the second quarter with Megan Clark’s three-point play tying the game at 12 but missed their last nine shots of the the half to trail 17-14.

Tennessee Tech opened the third quarter with back-to-back baskets before missing six straight. After a make they missed six more before Coleman’s layup at the buzzer made it 38-26.

The Golden Eagles missed their first 10 shots of the fourth quarter before hitting the last shot of the game.

Belmont was 2 of 16 in a second quarter that saw the Bruins outscored 7-5 but shot 56% in the second half and finished the game at 39%.

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