NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The Belmont University women's basketball team (20-5, 12-0) returns to game action Saturday, Feb. 11 when it travels to Tennessee Tech (10-15, 7-5) for a 5:30 p.m. Central time tilt vs. the Golden Eagles at the Hooper Eblen Center. The game will be broadcast live on the OVC Digital Network while Dr. Rich Tiner will have the audiocast on the Bruin Sports Network.
The contest features the league's first place team in Belmont and the third place Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles.
"Saturday is going to be a great challenge for our team. Tennessee Tech is playing very well and has played great at home this year. Kim has done a terrific job in her first season and they played us extremely well last month at our place. Hickson is one of the best scorers/players in the OVC and they have a number of other very good players around her. We showed some grit and resilience in our last game on Wednesday, and we know that we need to get better with valuing each possession and continuing to compete on both ends of the court," said Belmont Head Coach Cameron Newbauer.
Belmont, winners of 14-straight games, earned a hardfought victory over Jacksonville State this past Wednesday. Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) scored 16 points to lead a group of four double-digit scorers. Much like the first matchup between the Bruins and Gamecocks in Jacksonville, the second meeting was also a very competitive bout. Belmont led by just five with under four minutes to play at 53-48, but outscored the Gamecocks 9-4 down the stretch to preserve the victory. The Bruins led for over 36 minutes in what was a tight game throughout.
Kylee Smith (Alpharetta, Ga.) surpassed the 1,000 career points mark on Wednesday. After scoring 196 points during her lone season at nearby Vanderbilt, the redshirt-junior has amassed over 800 points during her career as a Bruin. Smith leads the team in scoring at 14.4 per contest and has 18 double figure scoring games to go with six games with over 20 points.
As of Feb. 9, Maggard is the only player in the nation top five in both three-pointers made (4th, 84) and three-point percentage (4th, 48.6%). The sophomore floor general leads Belmont in assists at 5.4 which ranks her second in the conference and her 2.55 assist to turnover ratio is one of the 25 best in the nation. Maggard has already equaled her total of made three's from a season ago, and is just three away from tying the Belmont program record during its NCAA Division I history.
Sally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.), who recorded her 15th career double double last time out, continues to be a presence in the paint for Belmont. The junior averages a team-best 7.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots. McCabe scores 11.9 points per game and has recorded 18 double figure scoring games. McCabe eclipsed the 600 career rebound mark as well on Wednesday.
Tennessee Tech enters the matchup 10-15 overall but is in possession of third place in the OVC with a 7-5 mark in league play. After dropping back to back games in late January, the Golden Eagles have won three of their past four and most recently picked up a 72-59 win at Tennessee State on Wednesday. Junior Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson leads TTU at 17.0 per game including a 17.7 average in league play. Treyvonna Brooks, who also averages double figures at 10.8, is the club's leading rebounder at 6.7 per game. Freshman Akia Harris leads the team in assists at 4.1 and averages nearly nine points a game. After averaging around eight points a game last season, Hickson has shaped into a Conference Player of the Year candidate as a junior and scored 37 points against Belmont in a loss last month in Nashville.
Tennessee Tech holds a 26-20 advantage in terms of the all time series, but Belmont has claimed the last seven meetings. Belmont's last loss against the Golden Eagles occurred in the 2012-13 OVC Tournament Semifinal. The last two meetings in Cookeville have been very narrow victories for Belmont as the combined margin of victory in those contests has been just three points. Last season, the teams met in a double overtime thriller at the Eblen Center. Maggard connected on the eventual game-winning jump shot with eight seconds left to hold on and push the Bruins to their sixth-straight victory.
After Saturday's matchup, the Bruins continue their two-game road swing when they travel to Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday, Feb. 15 for their final true road game of the 2016-17 campaign.
Fans: The next time you can catch the Bruins at home is the Feb. 18 men's and women's double header vs. Morehead State at the Curb Event Center. All kids 17 and under will receive $1 admission to the game. Click here for tickets.
Watch | Listen | Stats | Game Notes
- Belmont is the only Division I basketball program to have both its men's and women's teams undefeated in conference play. (Combined 24-0)
- Belmont is 28-1 in its last 29 conference games.
- The Bruins' 14-game winning streak is the third longest active streak this season in all of NCAA Division I, trailing just UConn (23) and Texas (17)
- As of Feb. 9, Belmont's 11 road wins trail just UConn's 12 for the most in the nation. Only six teams in all of NCAA Division I have at least 10 road victories and Morehead State has the second most road wins in the OVC with just six.
- Belmont checked in at No. 18 in the Feb. 8 College Sports Insider Mid Major Poll. In the most recent ESPNW Mid Major poll it is No. 5.
- The Bruins have started their conference season 12-0 for the first time since transitioning into a Division I program.
- Belmont is ranked within the top 50 nationally in 20 different statistical categories as of Feb. 9, the Bruins are top 30 in scoring offense, rebounds, assists, three-pointers made, assist to turnover ratio and rebound margin.
- Belmont has won 20 or more games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2005-06 and 2006-07 campaigns.