LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Belmont women's basketball joins elite company for the Play4Kay Showcase at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nov. 23-25. The Bruins will be one of eight squads participating in the event, all of which entered the 2017-18 campaign ranked in the top 170 RPI rankings. They'll first face Gonzaga on Thursday, Nov. 23 at 10 p.m. CT for the Thanksgiving Day nightcap.
ABOUT THE BRUINS
Belmont won its third consecutive game in its victory over Samford Tuesday evening to move to 3-1 on the season. The Bruins enjoyed double-digit scoring efforts from four players, led by senior guard Kylee Smith's (Alpharetta, Ga.) 18 points.
Four contests into the season, BU ranking in the top 25 in four categories, including three-point field goals made (15th), three-point field goals attempted (17th), assist turnover ratio (17th) and assists (21st). The Bruins lead the OVC in scoring offence averaging 80.0 points per game, field goal percentage (.451), assists (80), and assist turnover ratio (1.6).
Collectively, Belmont boasts a field goal percentage of .451, with Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) shooting an impressive .522 clip from the field. The squad has out-rebounded their opponents 183-140, averaging 45.8 rebounds per game. BU is outscoring its opponents by a margin of 17.8 points, having poured in at least 70 points in all four of its contests thus far.
EMBRACING THE CHALLENGE
In terms of RPI, seven of the eight teams featured in the Play4Kay Showcase entered the 2017-18 campaign ranked in the top 100, including Stanford (6th), DePaul (17th), Ohio State (27th), Belmont (57th), Gonzaga (65th), Florida Gulf Coast (80th) and Kent State (96th). Memphis is the only team that didn't enter this season in the top 100, but weren't far behind coming in at 167th of 348 teams. Among those squads, five (Ohio State, Stanford, DePaul, Gonzaga and FGCU) are either ranked or receiving votes in the AP/USA Today Coaches polls. BU has already faced one nationally ranked opponent this year, falling to then-No. 22/21 Oklahoma on the road in its season opener.
The Bruins will see a couple of familiar faces among the loaded field for the Play4Kay showcase. The first is current Stanford assistant coach Lindy La Roque who served as an assistant for Belmont its two previous seasons. Secondly, head coach Bart Brooks will reunite with the DePaul Blue Demons where he was the assistant coach under Doug Bruno for the last 11 years before accepting the head coaching job at BU this past June.
CHUCKIN' IT FROM THE CHEAP SEATS
Last year's NCAA three-point percentage champion Darby Maggard got out to a hot start to her junior campaign, draining nine three-pointers at Tulsa to tie a program record for the most threes made in a game. The only other time a Bruin has scored that many was Jenny Conkle against Mercer in 2004-05. Maggard is one of four players to hit nine threes in a game this season.
THE MORE THE MERRIER
BU is a perfect 21-0 when scoring at least 80 points over the last three seasons. The Bruins have already scored 80+ twice (at Tulsa and against Samford). The Bruins 90-point win over the Golden Hurricanes marked its 19th game scoring at least 90 points in the last 21 years, they boast a perfect record in such games. They are 114-1 when scoring 90+ points all-time.
While the Bruins veterans - Kylee Smith, Sally McCabe (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and Darby Maggard - are the primary offensive producers, Belmont has enjoyed contributions from nearly every player that's seen time on the hardwood this season. Nine different players have scored 10+ points with seven collecting 13+ rebounds.
Belmont boasts a 26-12 mark in nonconference meetings over the last three seasons. The Bruins are 1-4 in such games against Power 5 programs. Their last victory over a Power 5 institution came at Wake Forest when they defeated the Demon Deacons, 78-64, in 2015.
Belmont has knocked down at least one three-pointer in each of its last 135 contests, draining at least 10 treys in 38 of those games. The squad has hit 10 or more threes twice this season, including a season high 14 at Tulsa (11.12)
Live Stats // Video // Audio