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Eastern Illinois WBB Game Preview

Eastern Illinois WBB Game Preview

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After sweeping a season-long four-game road trip the past two weeks, all wins coming in convincing fashion, the Belmont women's basketball team now returns home for its final stops of the season at the Curb Event Center and Homecoming week.

Belmont's mini home stand starts Thursday against Eastern Illinois with Saturday's game against SIU Edwardsville to follow. The Bruins (20-5, 13-1 OVC) tip off with the Panthers at 5 p.m. on Thursday, a game that will be streamed on ESPN+ and through the Watch ESPN app. An audio stream is also available through the Bruin Sports Network.

The back half of the Bruins' Ohio Valley Conference schedule has been road heavy, but Belmont responded well to the adversity. Belmont is 7-0 on the road in conference play, a stretch that included those four straight away games. All four wins came by at least 20 points.

"Being in the position that we are, we have a lot of teams coming after us. Teams are going to give us their all, so we always have to be ready no matter what the circumstances may be," Belmont freshman forward Conley Chinn (Jackson, Miss.) said of her team rising to meet the occasion.

"Playing away, not being in our home gym with our own baskets in our own atmosphere, it can be tough sometimes. But our team has grown being able to play through anything."

After taking down Tennessee Tech this past Saturday, a 99-67 win that avenged Belmont's only league loss of the season from early January, the Bruins put themselves in position to clinch the regular season OVC title this week. A win Thursday against EIU (10-15, 4-10 OVC) would guarantee Belmont at least a share of its third straight regular season crown. Two wins in the team's remaining four games means an outright title and the No. 1 seed to the upcoming OVC Tournament.

Belmont has been playing some of its best basketball in recent weeks to get to this point, beating all three of its closest pursuers in the OVC standings by double digits. Those were key wins at Tech last week, at Morehead State the week before and vs. UT Martin at the beginning of February – the three teams currently tied for second in the conference.

"Those wins are really special and really important at this time of the season," Chinn said. "It gives us an opportunity to kind of flex our muscles a little bit and show everyone what Belmont's all about, that we're not going to let up at all and we want to prove a point. We want to be the best team in this conference."

The OVC Tournament begins March 6 at Evansville, Ind.