NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Playing its first nationally televised home game in program history, the Belmont University women's basketball team (10-5, 2-0) welcomes the defending OVC Regular Season Champion UT Martin Skyhawks (4-11, 1-1) to the Curb Event Center, Thursday, Jan. 5 for its 2016-17 conference home opener. Tip off is slated for 4 p.m. Central time and the broadcast will be carried live on ESPNU with Melissa Lee and Brooke Weisbrod on the call.
"We are excited to have our first conference home game Thursday vs. Tennessee Martin and the opportunity to compete in front of a national audience on ESPNU. UT Martin is a very tough, well-coached team that is always at the top of the league. We know that we must have a focused team effort in order to compete to the best of our abilities. This will be our first ever nationally televised game here in the Curb Event Center and we are looking forward to sharing this experience with our campus and incredible fans," said Belmont Head Coach Cameron Newbauer.
The Bruins, winners of four-straight and eight of their last nine games, have opened their season 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2012-13, after winning at Eastern Illinois and Austin Peay in succession. Against Austin Peay on Dec. 31, four Bruins tallied double figures led by Jenny Roy's (Brentwood, Tenn.) second-straight double double and Belmont left Clarksville with an 80-71 victory. The Bruins led just 37-35 at the half, but outscored the Govs 21-14 in the third quarter to help propel them to a conference win on the road. Belmont, off to its best start through 15 games since the 2008-09 campaign, is paced offensively by Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) who averages a team-best 13.9 points and 5.2 assists per game. Junior center Sally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) leads the team with 7.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
This past Tuesday, Roy was named the adidas® OVC Player of the Week for the first time in her career after registering consecutive double doubles. Roy, who led the team or tied for the team lead in both rebounding and scoring in each game, put some up some impressive numbers for the week all while shooting an efficient 11-of-14 from the floor.
UT Martin is off to a 1-1 mark in conference play after winning over Jacksonville State and falling to Morehead State in home contests. Against Morehead State this past Saturday, the Skyhawks saw their 27-game conference home winning streak which previously ranked as the fourth longest streak in the nation come to an end, falling 89-68. In the setback, Myah Taylor scored a game-high 16 points. Taylor, one of three players to average double digits for the Skyhawks, leads the team in scoring at 12.3 per contest. Freshman Kendall Spray leads the team with 41 made three-pointers and averages 10.7 points per game. Like Belmont, UT Martin took on a challenging non-conference slate squaring off with the likes of Louisville and DePaul and other Power 5 names such as Vanderbilt, Missouri and Northwestern. UT Martin, picked to finish second in the OVC this season, is under the direction of eighth year head coach Kevin McMillan.
Thursday's matchup marks the 30th meeting between the two programs, with Belmont holding an 18-11 all-time mark. Despite the overall edge, UT Martin has claimed the past five meetings including last season's 81-79 victory at home. In a mid-February matchup, the Bruins rallied back from an early deficit but Maggard's jumper at the buzzer just missed the mark as Belmont saw its 10-game winning streak come to a close.
Last season's meeting between the OVC stalwarts was also featured on ESPNU.
Belmont is 16-1 in its last 17 home games and including last season's run through the OVC Tournament, Belmont is 18-1 in its last 19 OVC games. Its last loss came at UT Martin.
After their battle with UT Martin, the Bruins continue their three-game homestand on Saturday, Jan. 7 when they host SEMO.
Watch | Listen | Stats | Game Notes
Belmont University President Bob Fisher challenges women's basketball student-athlete Darby Maggard to a game of 1-on-1 to promote the Jan. 5 matchup between Belmont and UT Martin. Check out how it all played out here: