NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University women's basketball earned a No. 24 national ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for Week 15, released Monday.
It marks the first time in Belmont's NCAA Division I era that any program has earned a national ranking, in either the AP or USA Today Coaches Poll.
"This is a significant moment in the history of our program, and speaks volumes to the dedication and commitment of players past and present," Belmont head coach Bart Brooks said. "I could not be prouder of our team, for given the amount of adversity we have faced this season, we have continued to support each other and remain accountable each day in practice. It seems fitting that this comes on the heels of our 50th anniversary celebration, and reunion two weeks ago; that Coach (Betty) Wiseman, the first Belmont team, and the historic teams that followed can all share in this."
"We also know that it doesn't stop here," Brooks added. "We have embraced every challenge put before us this season, and will continue to do so together."
The Bruins, second among others receiving votes in the AP Top 25 poll last Monday, has earned national poll votes for six consecutive weeks. Their 53 votes, up from 28 a week ago, are the most that the program has ever received from a national poll.
The Bruins are the second-highest ranked mid-major in the AP poll - behind No. 19 Green Bay – and stand as the fastest mid-major program to 20 wins this season.
Boasting a 24-3 record and 14-0 mark in OVC play, Belmont has won 39 consecutive OVC games, the second-longest streak in the nation, only to No. 1 UConn (94).
The Bruins have gone 728 days since their last conference loss.
Belmont's current 15-game winning streak is the fifth-longest active streak in the nation.
Notable Bruin victories this season include triumphs over nationally-regarded Gonzaga and Florida Gulf Coast in the Play4Kay Showcase, and a 111-74 victory at SEC stalwart Vanderbilt – the most points ever scored against a Commodore squad.
Belmont ranks Top 10 nationally in seven statistical categories, and is the only program in America so ranked in 3-point field goals made, rebounds, and assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Bruins are 13th nationally in scoring margin (+17.4) and in select company of NCAA Division I programs featuring three active career 1,000 point scorers (Sally McCabe, Kylee Smith, Darby Maggard).
Maggard is one of 10 national finalists for the prestigious Ann Meyers Drysdale Award.
Belmont, the two-time defending OVC champion and NCAA Tournament automatic bid recipient, is one of four teams in the country - and the only mid-major squad - to have reached the 24-win plateau.
This marks the 10th time in the past three seasons that Belmont has received national Top 25 poll votes. The Bruins earned a previous program-best 29 votes, at the conclusion of their historic 2016-17 campaign (March 6, 2017).
The Bruins are ranked No. 2 in the latest polls from ESPNW and CollegeInsider.com of national mid-major programs.
Belmont becomes the first OVC women's basketball program to crack the Top 25 since Tennessee Tech (12/22/92).
Belmont hosts Eastern Kentucky Thursday, Feb. 15. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center.
About Belmont University
Ranked No. 6 in the Regional Universities South category and named as a "Most Innovative" university by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University consists of more than 8,000 students who come from every state and more than 25 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The University's purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world's needs. With more than 90 areas of undergraduate study, 19 master's programs and five doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual's horizon. For more information, visit www.belmont.edu.