MACON, Ga. – The Belmont women's basketball team (12-16, 11-6 A-Sun) will look to extend its win streak to four games for the first time this season when it faces off at Mercer (5-23, 3-14 A-A-Sun) on Saturday afternoon for its final game of the regular season. The Bruins will look to carry their recent momentum into next week's General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Tournament also hosted by the Bears.
Mercer won two of its last five matchups, including a 67-61 win over Lipscomb earlier this week. The Bears have an overall record of 5-23, an Atlantic Sun mark of 3-14 and have been eliminated from participating in next week's A-Sun Tournament. Mercer is led in scoring by Briana Williams, who is averaging 17.1 points per game. Ry'van Buchanan also averages in double digits, adding 10 points per outing. Alex Phillips and Sharmesia Smith lead the team in rebounds, grabbing 6.8 and 6.0 boards per outing.
Back on December 3, a strong comeback effort in the final four minutes of regulation fell just short at the Curb Event Center for the Belmont women's basketball team as BU fell to visiting Mercer, 64-61, after a three-pointer at the buzzer rattled off the rim. Junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) led the Bruins with a career and game-high 22 points. Senior Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.) added 17 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Belmont leads the all-time series, 13-10, but Mercer snapped a nine-game series skid with its win last month.
The Belmont women's basketball team held off a scrappy Kennesaw State team on the road. The Bruins used the combination of a strong first half performance and stifling defense in the final two minutes of regulation to catapult them to the 58-53 victory. Nelson notched her 14th double-double of the season with a game-high 14 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.) netted 12 points and redshirt junior Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn.) added 11 points in the effort. Nelson also knocked down a game-high four blocks while Brooks finished with a game-high six assists.
Nelson continues to lead BU in scoring, field-goal percentage, rebounding, blocks and steals. She is averaging 14.3 points while shooting at a 51.9 percent clip from the floor, pulling down 8.9 boards per outing as well as 2.1 stops and 1.8 swipes per game. Brooks leads the team in assists with a total of 96. Sophomore Julianne Downs (Franklin, Tenn.) and Ernst lead the Bruins in shooting at the charity stripe, knocking down 84.6 and 82.4 percent, respectively. Visbeen and Ernst top BU's three-point shooters, knocking down 34.0 and 33.3 percent from behind the arc, respectively.
Three Bruins continue to make their presence felt in NCAA Division I statistics this week (as of 2/24). Nelson continues to stand among the best statistically among all NCAA Division I players, making appearances in six categories. Her highest rankings are seventh in double doubles (14), 32nd in blocked shots per game (2.2) and 33rd in field-goal percentage (.519). She is also ranked 60th in rebounds per game (8.9), 191st in points per game (14.2) and 287th in steals (1.8). Brooks is ranked 188th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.13) and 192nd in assists per game (3.4) while Ernst is ranked 84th in three-point field-goal percentage and 111th in three-point field goals per game (2.0).
Saturday's contest is slated to tip-off at 2 p.m. The matchup can be heard live via the internet on the Bruins Sports Network and seen live on ASun.TV. Live stats and a Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available.