NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The Belmont University women's basketball team (11-5, 3-0) resumes its current three-game homestand Saturday, Jan. 7 when it hosts Southeast Missouri (7-9, 1-2) for an OVC tilt at the Curb Event Center. Tip off is slated for 5 p.m. and the game will be streamed live on the OVC Digitial Network.
Playing its first ever nationally televised home game this past Thursday, Belmont won its fifth-straight contest with a 71-66 victory over three-time defending regular season champion UT Martin. The Bruins featured four in double figures led by Darby Maggard's (Larwill, Ind.) 14 points. Reigning OVC Player of the Week Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) continued her impressive stretch of play, notching her third-straight double double with a 10 point, 12 rebound performance. The Bruins got off to a scorching start against the Skyhawks by outscoring them 25-8 in the first quarter. UT Martin stormed back and outscored Belmont over the final three periods to make things interesting down the stretch, but the Bruins held on for their ninth win in their last 10 games.
"Saturday will be another tough test for our team as SEMO is a very talented team that competes extremely hard for 40 mins. It is another opportunity for us to build on what we learned from last night's game. We must improve on our defense from the UT Martin game if we want to have success tomorrow. We must remain focused on the process of having the best attitude and effort in order to be better today than we were yesterday. I believe that our players will be excited to compete and appreciate the opportunity to play in front of our fans here at home," said Belmont Head Coach Cameron Newbauer.
SEMO enters Saturday's game sporting a 7-9 overall record and is fresh off its first OVC win of the season after notching a 75-67 victory at Tennessee State, its first road win vs. TSU since 2008. Despite trailing heading into the fourth quarter, the Redhawks picked up the victory behind a career-best 20 points from Ashton Luttrull. Redshirt-senior Olivia Hackmann recorded her fifth double double in the win. Hackmann leads the team in scoring (15.5) and rebounding (7.2). The Redhawks lead the OVC in three-point shooting (.374) and assists per game (16.6), rank third in scoring at 73.5, and its +3.6 rebounding margin ranks it second in the conference. SEMO, pegged to finish in a tie for fifth, also features Preseason All-OVC talent Bri Mitchell who averages 13.5 points per game to go with 5.3 assists.
The matchup Saturday marks the 10th meeting all time between the Bruins and Redhawks. Belmont holds a narrow 5-4 edge in those contests but fell in the most recent addition of the series in Cape Girardeau last season. On Dec. 31, 2015, the Bruins dropped their OVC opener 81-74 at SEMO despite putting five in double figures. Belmont outscored the Redhawks in the second and fourth quarters but could not overcome an early deficit, and fell in their fifth-straight contest. Ssally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Ten..) led the Bruins with 17 points and the team connected on 11 three-pointers.
Saturday marks Superhero Saturday at the Curb. There will be several exciting promotions centered around your favorite superheros. The first 100 kids will receive a special Belmont superhero cape.
Belmont's 11-5 start is its best start through 16 games since the 2006-07 campaign when it began 12-4 and eventually qualified for its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Bruins have started their OVC season 3-0 for the first time since joining the league in 2012-13.
After Saturday's showdown with SEMO, Belmont next takes the floor Wednesday, Jan. 11 when it hosts Eastern Kentucky.