NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont women's basketball head coach Bart Brooks will kick off his inaugural season at the helm of the Bruins program with a versatile nonconference slate, announced Tuesday afternoon.
BU will face opponents from nine different leagues, including a pair of Power Five squads and a fellow NCAA tournament competitor. The team will be put to the challenge early with four of their nonconference opponents ranking in the top 150 RPI heading into the season.
""I'm very excited about the opportunity for our team to compete against some really good programs in our nonconference schedule this season," Brooks said. "The first half of our campaign will be excellent preparation for the talented coaches and players await us in a very competitive Ohio Valley Conference."
The Bruins will get the 2017-18 campaign started with a trip to Oklahoma where they will take on the Sooners on Nov. 10. Finishing last season with a RPI rank of 20, OU made it to the second round in the NCAA Tournament. This will be the first meeting between Belmont and Oklahoma, as well as the first time in program history that they will play a current member of the Big 12 Conference.
"Coach Sherri Coale does a tremendous job with her program at Oklahoma and we are excited to play in front of their great fan base in Norman," Brooks said.
From there, the team will head northeast 120 miles where they will face Tulsa two days later.
The squad will then look to continue their dominance inside the Curb Event Center, returning home to host Fort Wayne (Nov. 15) and Samford (Nov. 21). Collectively, the Bruins hold a flawless 8-0 all-time series mark over the two squads, defeating both last year. They also boast an unpresented 27-1 record at home over the last two seasons, including winning their final 13 contests in the Curb during the 2016-17 slate.
Belmont will hit the road to face their first of two Horizon League opponents, Northern Kentucky, on Nov. 25. It will be only the second time the two teams have met and their first since the 1982-83 season. After that they will return home to take on Trevecca Nazarene (Nov. 28) and Presbyterian College (Dec. 1).
The Battle of the Boulevard will await the Bruins on Dec. 4 as they make the two-mile trek down Belmont Blvd. to Lipscomb. Belmont currently owns the series with a 46-28 all-time record dating back to 1979, including reigning victorious last year. The team will then travel to Jonesboro, Ark. where they will take on Arkansas State on Dec. 14.
BU then faces their second Horizon League foe, Wright State (Dec. 18) before closing out its nonconference schedule at Vanderbilt. The Bruins will take on the Commodores inside Historic Memorial Gymnasium on Dec. 21.
"It's great that all women's basketball fans in Nashville can enjoy a game like this right before Christmas," Brooks said. "Competing against a team like Vanderbilt and its great coaching staff led by Stephanie White will be a tremendous challenge for our program as we end our nonconference season."
All Belmont home games will be streamed live on the OVC Digital Network, as well as away game coverage on the Bruin Sports Network.