NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After earning a spot in the 2012 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Tournament over the weekend, the Belmont women's basketball team (9-16, 8-6 A-Sun) return to the confines of the Curb Event Center for its final pair of regular season games at home. The Bruins host USC Upstate (7-18, 6-8 A-Sun) on Thursday night with the home finale on Saturday against in-state rival ETSU (6-19, 5-9 A-Sun).
The Spartans head to Nashville looking to improve on their recent play, after dropping three of their last four matchups. USC Upstate split action at home last weekend, bringing their Atlantic Sun record to 6-8. The team stands 7-18 overall. Upstate is led in scoring by Tee'Ara Copney, who is averaging 15.5 points per game. Paulina Zaveckaite leads the team in rebounds, grabbing 7.0 per contest.
On January 21, despite a strong comeback effort waged late in the second half, the Belmont women's basketball team was held off on the road by USC Upstate. The Spartans used a strong performance at the free-throw line in the final six minutes of regulation to hold on for the 61-51 win. Senior Haley Nelson notched her 10th double-double of the season with a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds. Redshirt Katie Brooks reached double figures, adding 14 points in the effort, just one shy of matching her career high. Brooks also finished with a game-high four assists. Freshman Adrienne Tarrence went 3-for-4 at the stripe while sophomore Molly Ernst and Brooks were both perfect at 2-for-2.
USC Upstate holds a narrow 5-4 all-time series advantage.
The last time out, Belmont, despite a strong defensive showing, were unable to get things going offensively down the stretch and fell on the road at Florida Gulf Coast, 54-34. Redshirt junior Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn.) led the Bruins with nine points. Freshmen Adrienne Tarrence (Bowling Green, Ky.) and Amara Mayers (Harvest, Ala.) added seven and six points, respectively, in the effort.
Nelson leads BU in scoring, field-goal percentage, rebounding, blocks and steals. She is averaging 14.1 points while shooting at a 52.3 percent clip from the floor, pulling down 8.6 boards per outing as well as 2.2 stops and 1.9 swipes per game. Brooks leads the team in assists with a total of 82. Sophomores Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.) and Julianne Downs (Franklin, Tenn.) lead the Bruins in shooting at the charity stripe, knocking down 85.7 and 84.6 percent, respectively. Junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) and Ernst top BU's three-point shooters, knocking down 33.3 and 31.8 percent from behind the arc, respectively.
Three Bruins continue to make their presence felt in NCAA Division I statistics this week (as of 2/12). Senior Haley Nelson continues to stand among the best statistically among all NCAA Division I players in a whopping six categories. Her highest rankings are 12th in double doubles (12), 33rd in field-goal percentage (.523) and 37th in blocked shots per game (2.2). She is also ranked 84th in rebounds per game (8.6), 210th in points per game (14.1), and 281st in steals per game (1.8). Redshirt junior Katie Brooks comes in at 187th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.11) and 214th in assists per game (3.3) while sophomore Molly Ernst is ranked 107th in three-point field-goal percentage (.318) and 117th in three-point field goals per game (2.0).
Thursday night's contest, which has been designated "WE BACK PAT" night in support of legendary coach Pat Summitt, is slated to begin at 7 p.m. The matchup can be seen live on ASun.TV and heard live via the internet on the Bruin Sports Network. Live stats and a Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available. Residents of Williamson County who visit a special link and enter the promotional code: "WILLIAMSON" will be able to purchase tickets at greatly reduced group rate prices. With the code, tickets for adults are $3 while tickets for children are only $1. Click here to use the promo code to purchase tickets.
Fans are encouraged to show Bruin spirit by wearing red as part of Homecoming 2012.