NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Ohio Valley Conference champion Belmont women's basketball team will face national power South Carolina in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament on Friday at Halton Arena in Charlotte, N.C.
The 13th-seeded Bruins will tip off against No. 4 South Carolina at 12:45 p.m. (CT) with the game televised live on ESPN2. Tickets for the first-and second-round games in Charlotte will go on sale Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. (CT). All tickets are general admission and can be purchased through host UNC Charlotte HERE.
The Bruins are making their fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament after winning their fourth straight Ohio Valley Conference championship earlier this month. Belmont's fourth-year seniors will end their careers as the first class in program history to reach the NCAA Tournament all four years.
"This year is special because it's my last one, but at the same time there's some unfinished business," said Belmont senior All-America candidate Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.). "We're coming here to compete, to do what we came to Belmont to do, and that's get an NCAA Tournament win."
At 26-6, Belmont has won at least 26 games for a third straight season. The Bruins have dominated the OVC in that time with a 65-2 record in their last 67 games against conference opponents. Only UConn, Baylor and fellow mid-major power Drake have won as many conference games nationally in that stretch.
South Carolina (21-9) has been among the top teams in the nation recently, a stretch that included an NCAA national championship two seasons ago. The Gamecocks have reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the last eight years under veteran head coach Dawn Staley.
The No. 4 seed Gamecocks are ranked 16th in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll and 18th by the USA Today.
"They're a household name in women's basketball, so there's not a lot of surprise with what you're going to get with that program," said Belmont Head Coach Bart Brooks. "They're going to be an extremely physical team, really good on defense and really good on the glass."
The Bruins are 0-1 against teams from the SEC this season with a tight 84-76 loss at then 10th-ranked Tennessee in December. Belmont also challenged itself with a road trip to Raliegh, N.C., to open the season when the Bruins led then 17th-ranked North Carolina State deep into the second half in a 77-62 defeat.
South Carolina is 28-14 all-time at the NCAA Tournament while Belmont is still looking for its first victory on the biggest stage. The Bruins are 0-4, including a hard-fought 72-58 loss to Duke last season and narrow 73-70 defeat against Kentucky the year before.
Belmont was a 13 seed in that latter matchup as well. The Bruins drew a program-best No. 12 in last season's tournament.