NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont women's basketball team (7-14, 6-4 A-Sun) will look to firm its grip on third place in the Atlantic Sun race on Saturday when it wraps a two-game home stand on Saturday evening. The Bruins host Jacksonville (7-14, 5-5 A-Sun) for its annual Pink Zone game beginning at 5 p.m. in the Curb Event Center.
Jacksonville comes into the Curb looking to get back on its feet after a narrow 68-64 setback at Lipscomb on Thursday night. The loss moves the Dolphins into a tie for fourth place with North Florida, who also sports a 5-5 Atlantic Sun record. JU stands at 7-14 overall and have dropped its last two contests. The team is lead in scoring by Crystal Bell and Tracie Sneed, who are averaging 12.6 and 10.4 points per game. The Dolphins are led in rebounding by Jade Cargill, who is pulling down 8.0 per contest.
Belmont leads the all-time series 14-6 but Jacksonville has won the last four consecutive matchups, including a 57-50 win in the first week of conference action in 2012.
It was like deja-vu as the Belmont women's basketball team dominated visiting North Florida for the second time this season to take sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Sun. The Bruins jumped out to a 10-0 lead to open the first half en route to notching a 57-35 victory over the Ospreys on Thursday night at the Curb Event Center. Redshirt junior Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn.) led the Bruins with a career and game-high 18 points. Senior Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.) collected her 11th double-double of the season with 14 points and game-high 11 rebounds. She also recorded a game-high six assists and four blocks. Sophomore Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.) finished with nine points, all from behind the three-point arc.
Nelson, who was tabbed Atlantic Sun Player of the Week for a second consecutive week, leads BU in scoring, field-goal percentage, rebounding, blocks and steals. She is averaging 15.0 points and 8.5 boards per outing as well as 2.0 stops and 1.9 swipes per game. Brooks leads the team in assists with a total of 73. Sophomores Ernst and Julianne Downs (Franklin, Tenn.) and freshman Katie Carroll (Lilburn, Ga.) lead the Bruins in shooting at the charity stripe, knocking down 86.4, 84.6 and 83.3 percent, respectively. Junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) tops BU's three-point shooters, knocking down 36.2 percent from behind the arc.
Three Bruins continue to make their presence felt in NCAA Division I statistics this week (as of 1/26). Nelson continues to stand among the best statistically among all NCAA Division I players in a whopping six categories. Her highest rankings are 6th in double doubles (11), 35th in field-goal percentage (.526) and 47th in blocked shots per game (2.0). She is also ranked 98th in rebounds per game (8.5), 157th in points per game (15.0), and 264th in steals per game (1.9). Brooks comes in at 182nd in assists per game (3.5) and 191st in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.14). Ernst is ranked 91st in three-point field goals per game (2.1) and 92nd in three-point field-goal percentage (.328).
Saturday's Pink Zone game is set to tip-off at 5 p.m. A community health fair will be held in the Maddox Grand Atrium of the Curb Event Center prior to the game starting. The matchup can be heard live via the internet on the Bruins Sports Network and seen on ASun.TV. Live stats and a Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available.