NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The Belmont University women's basketball team (12-5, 4-0) continues conference play Wednesday, Jan. 11 when it welcomes Eastern Kentucky (6-10, 3-0) to the Curb Event Center. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m. Central time and Wednesday's contest concludes a string of three-straight home games for the Bruins.
"We have a great challenge ahead of us as Eastern Kentucky comes here on Wednesday. They are undefeated in OVC play and have the preseason Player of the Year. Eastern Kentucky is a team that has no shortage of veteran and experienced players, and we have a ton of respect for Coach Roberts and her team. This will be the last of three straight home games for us so we're thrilled to have the opportunity to compete in front of our home fans before we hit the road again," said Belmont Head Coach Cameron Newbauer.
Belmont, winners of six-straight and 10 of its last 11, last competed on Jan. 7 when it knocked off Southeast Missouri, 89-77 at home to start OVC play 4-0. Sally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) led the Bruins with an impressive 19 point, 13 rebound performance against the Redhawks as she notched her first double double of the season. McCabe also tied a career high with seven blocks in the Bruins' hardfought win. The two teams battled back and forth, with 10 ties and five lead changes. Kylee Smith (Alpharetta, Ga.) registered 19 points and Darby Maggard (Larwilld, Ind.) and Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) each recorded 15.
Belmont leads the league in scoring at 75.2 and leads the league in field goal percentage at .430.
Eastern Kentucky enters Wednesday's action a perfect 3-0 in league play and sports a 6-10 overall record. The Colonels have won on the road at SEMO and picked up home wins vs. SIUE and Eastern Illinois to begin their OVC slate. OVC Preseason Player of the Year, Jalen O'Bannon, paces EKU with 13.8 points per game while Shavontae Naylor leads the club in rebounding at 6.7 per contest. O'Bannon, Naylor and Alexus Cooper all average double digits and each rank within the top 15 in points per game in the conference. The Colonels are a veteran team that feature five upperclassmen projected starters, including four seniors. EKU, slated to finish third in the conference, is one of just three teams undefeated in league action so far. EKU has endured two separate four-game losing streaks this season but enters the action with three-consecutive victories. 13 different players have started a game for EKU, Cooper is the only player to start all 16.
Wednesday marks the the 17th meeting all time between the programs, with Belmont holding a 13-3 edge. Last season, the teams met three times, the last of which occurred in the OVC Tournament Championship game, where the Bruins knocked off the Colonels 95-63 to clinch their second ever NCAA Tournament bid. McCabe led five Bruins in double figures with 23 points en route to Tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
The Bruins have started their OVC season 4-0 for the first time since joining the league in 2012-13. In addition, its 4-0 start to conference play is the program's best since the 2008-09 season when it was a member of the Atlantic Sun. In 2006-07, the Bruins began conference play 9-0 before falling at Mercer in early February.
Join Belmont Athletics as it welcomes back students and all fans to campus with a free Purity ice cream sundae station and a chance to win Ariana Grande tickets at Wednesday night's game.
After squaring off with Eastern Kentucky, the Bruins go on the road consecutive away games at Morehead State and Jacksonville State, respectively.