FAIRBORN, Ohio – The Belmont women's basketball team will get the opportunity to avenge a rare loss from the 2017-18 season when the Bruins visit Wright State on Thursday evening.
The game, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CT) from Wright State's Nutter Center, can be streamed live through subscription-based ESPN+. A radio audio stream is also available on the Bruin Sports Network.
Belmont's program-record 22-game win streak last season began following a 91-81 loss to Wright State in December, only the second home loss for the Bruins dating back to 2015.
Of course that Raiders team was no slouch, finishing the year 23-11 with a berth in the Women's NIT. Playing top mid-major teams like Wright State and Power Five programs like North Carolina State earlier this season is an intentional move by the Bruins. The rigors of Ohio Valley Conference play call for such preparation.
"It's awesome to get to play these good teams early. If we can continue to prepare at this level and this pace, it's only going to help us once conference comes around," said Belmont senior guard Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.).
Both teams enter Thursday's contest with matching 1-1 records, Belmont's win coming Monday over visiting Tulsa at the Curb Event Center. Belmont grabbed 50 rebounds in that victory to out-rebound its opponent for the first time this season.
"Again I think that's something that's going to get taken care of on the boards," said Belmont junior Maddie Wright (Chattanooga, Tenn.) of finding success at Wright State. "Rebounding is something that will keep challenging us this season and something we need to keep growing at."
The Bruins are 30-0 when out-rebounding opponents dating back to the beginning of last season. In all five losses in that stretch they grabbed fewer rebounds, including against the Raiders a year ago.
Belmont has never beaten Wright State in two meetings. The Raiders got the best of the Bruins 91-81 in a rare loss at the Curb Event Center last season, and Belmont also fell to Wright State in 1997 on a neutral floor at the Fazoli's/Hampton Inn Invitational. The teams have never played at Wright State.
AWARD WATCH LIST
Darby Maggard has been named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award watch list of the top 20 shooting guards in the nation by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Maggard was also on last year's preseason watch list for the award and finished as a finalist.
With 19 points against Tulsa, Maggard eclipsed 1,500 points for her Belmont career. At 1,501 career points, she ranks eighth in program history in scoring and third in Belmont's Division I era (since 1997-98). She can pass former teammates Kylee Smith (1,520 points) and Sally McCabe (1,540) in the coming games.
LIGHTS OUT SHOOTER
Maggard ranks first among active NCAA players in both 3-point percentage (43.9%) and free throw percentage (92.3%). She is also No. 2 among active players in made 3-pointers (326), assists (551) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.80).
Maggard extended her streak of games with a made 3-pointer to 50 with five threes against Tulsa. Maggard's last game without a 3-pointer came way back on Jan. 18, 2017 at Jacksonville State.
ROY THE THIEF
Senior Jenny Roy set a career high with five steals at [17/16] North Carolina State. It was the most steals by a Bruin player in nearly four years since Taylor Mills picked off five passes vs. Tennessee State on Jan. 1, 2014.
Roy ranks second in the OVC in assists (5.5) and fourth in steals (3.5) per game. Maggard is first in 3-pointers (4.5 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (8.0). Maura Muensterman is third in made 3-pointers (3.0).
WHAT A DEBUT
Coach Bart Brooks had an all-time great head coaching debut last year in leading Belmont to its 31-4 record. With 31 wins, Brooks tied for the fourth most wins ever by a first-year head coach in NCAA history. The all-time mark is 35 wins, shared by Jody Conradt of Texas (35-4) and Sonja Hogg Louisiana Tech (35-1), both set in 1982. He was honored with the Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award.
Belmont ranked third in the nation last year with 357 made 3-pointers. The Bruins hit at least 10 threes in 18 games and averaged 10.2 per game for the year to rank sixth in the country. They have made 13 and 12 in their two games thus far, tied for eighth in the nation with 12.5 per game.