NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont women's basketball heads to Charleston, Ill. to take on Eastern Illinois for its final road contest of the month. The Bruins and Panthers are slated for a 1 p.m. tip inside Lantz Arena on Saturday, Jan. 13.
ABOUT THE BRUINS
Belmont continued its perfect start to league play with a convincing victory over SIUE to take sole possession atop the conference standings earlier in the week. The squad has now won its last 24-straight regular season conference games and 30-consecutive including OVC tournament contests. BU moves to 15-3 overall, having won its last six games. Two of the Bruins three losses came to nationally ranked teams, the other coming to a talented Wright State team that was ranked in the mid-major polls.
BU's offensive production has been led by veterans Kylee Smith (Alpharetta, Ga.), Sally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ill.) who are all averaging at least 15.2 points per game. As a team, the Bruins are averaging 79.2 points per game while shooting an impressive .472 clip from the field - a mark that ranks 17th in the nation. Belmont leads the conference in assists, scoring offense, scoring margin, field goal percentage, assist turnover ratio, three-point field goal percentage, and three-point field goals made.
The squad has out-rebounded their opponents in 15 of their 18 games, winning all such contests while averaging 41.3 rebounds per game. BU is outscoring its opponents by a margin of 17.9 points, having poured in at least 70 points in all but four of its games.
LAST TIME AROUND
The Bruins and Panthers only faced each other once last year with Belmont securing the 77-58 victory at home. Four players tallied a double-digit performance, including a pair of 15 point outings from Darby Maggard and Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.). Roy also collected 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Belmont's 15-3 start to the season is its best since the 2001-02 campaign where they also kicked off the year with a 15-3 mark. The last time a Bruin team boasted a better record in its first 18 contests was during the 1993-94 season when they went 17-1.
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Belmont women's basketball has dominated the Ohio Valley Conference the last three seasons, compiling a 34-3 mark against such opponents. The Bruins have won 30 consecutive games against league foes, including OVC Tournament contests. They've also won back-to-back OVC tournament titles to earn consecutive NCAA tournament berths. Five games into league play, BU is averaging 70.6 ppg while shooting .477 from the field.
Sally McCabe ranked ninth in all of NCAA Division I with 95 blocks and 12th in blocks per game with 2.88 during her junior campaign. Her 95 swats were the most in a single season in program history. McCabe's 235 career blocks sit second in both program and OVC history. She has rejected 37 shots thus far in her senior season, sitting 16th in the nation with 2.64 blocks per game. In addition to contributing defensively, McCabe recently became the program's NCAA Division I leader in career made field goals.
COOKIN' IN CONFERENCE
Belmont's 30-straight conference wins ranks second in the nation - only to UCONN (86) - in consecutive victories against conference foes. The Bruins are followed by Drake (24) and New Mexico State (19).
MAURA MAKING MOVES
After a six-week hiatus from play, Maura Muensterman (Evansville, Ind.) returned to the hardwood in grand fashion hitting four threes at SIUE on Jan. 10. It was the fourth game this season that she's drained 4+ treys. The junior guard also unleashed beyond the arc previously in the season against Trevecca, going 7-for-8 while scoring a career-best 21 points.
AMONG THE NATION'S BEST
Belmont currently ranks nationally in the top-20 in 10 categories, three-point field goal made (3rd), three-point field goal per game (3rd), assist turnover ratio (6th), assists (6th), turnovers per game (10th), personal fouls per game (11th), assists per game (13th), field goal percentage (17th), rebounds (9th), and scoring margin (20th).
Belmont notched 13 road wins last season, the second most victories away from their home venue in all NCAA Division I institutions - sitting behind UConn's 14. The Bruins were one of five teams in the nation with 12 or more road wins a year ago. They're 9-2 on the road so far this season with both losses coming to nationally ranked teams.
2018 OVC TOURNAMENT
The 2018 Ohio Valley Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships presented by VisitMyrtleBeach.com, will be held February 28 through March 3 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. For ticket information, call 615-460-BALL or log onto belmontbruins.com/tickets and select the OVC Tournament Tickets link. All-session passes purchased before Feb. 1 are only $62. Exact seating location will be assigned based on level of priority.
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