NASHVILLE, Tenn. – You may not see a more focused and determined Belmont women's basketball team this season than the one that takes the floor Tuesday night for the annual Battle of the Boulevard clash against Lipscomb. A rivalry game and a rare losing skid will do that to a group.
The Bruins host Lipscomb (2-5) at 5 p.m. in the first game of a women/men doubleheader at the Curb Event Center. Belmont will be looking to shed its first losing streak in more than two years.
Belmont (4-3) hadn't lost back-to-back games since November 2016 before a pair of single-digit losses to Toledo and Clemson last week. The Bruins are intent on making sure the streak ends at two.
"Last time we were in the Curb we didn't put together our best performance and we know that, so we're excited to be back here Tuesday night," said Belmont senior guard Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.). "A rivalry game, the crowd, the atmosphere – it's going to be great. That's why we love to play in the Curb."
The Bruins are 38-3 at home dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season. They've had even more success when it comes to matching up against Lipscomb with nine straight wins in the series. Belmont has won the last seven played in its home gym.
But history means little when it comes to a rivalry game. Anything is possible, Roy said.
"A good old fashion rivalry, you have to love it. The doubleheader just increases the excitement and the hype around the game," she said. "Two really good programs just going at it, battling. Records don't matter and it's just what you bring that night."
The Bruins will enjoy a break during final exam week following the bout with the Bisons. Belmont doesn't play again until Dec. 17 when it visits Chattanooga in further non-conference action.
Belmont has played no single team more than Lipscomb, holding a 46-26 edge in the all-time series. Both the Bruins' 46 wins and their 26 losses are their most against any one opponent.
BATTLE OF THE BOULEVARD
The Bruins have dominated the last decade of the Battle of the Boulevard rivalry series. Belmont has won the past nine games dating back to the 2009-10 season, including the last seven matchups at the site of Tuesday's game, Belmont's Curb Event Center.
Belmont's loss to Clemson on Dec. 2 marks the first time the Bruins have lost back-to-back games in more than two years. The team's last two-game losing streak came Nov. 22-25, 2016 against Green Bay and Fresno State. The Bruins haven't lost three in a row since a six-game skid Dec. 16-Jan. 5 of the 2015-16 season.
COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS HONORS
Belmont players have been named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week in each of the past two weeks with junior Ellie Harmeyer being honored this past Monday and senior Darby Maggard the week before.
WATCH OUT FOR MAGGARD
Senior Darby Maggard is one of 35 players named to the watch list for the Wade Trophy given to the nation's top college women's basketball player by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She was also on the preseason watch list for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as one of the top 20 shooting guards in the country.
RECORD REACHED FOR MAGGARD
With 16 points at Northern Kentucky on Nov. 21, Maggard became Belmont's career scoring leader in the NCAA era (since 1997-98) with 1,553 points. She passed former teammate Sally McCabe (1,540 points) for the top spot and now ranks sixth in Belmont's overall program history.
LIGHTS OUT SHOOTER
Maggard ranks third among active NCAA players in 3-point shooting percentage (43.5%) and first in free-throw percentage (92.7%). She is also No. 2 among active players in made 3-pointers (339), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.78) and third in assists (567).
With three assists at Clemson on Dec. 2, Maggard moved up to third on Belmont's career leaderboard with 567. She needs eight more to pass Daree Pilkinton (1988-91) for second place all-time. Maggard's assist total also ranks her 10th in OVC history.
Belmont hit 11 3-pointers against Clemson on Dec. 2 behind the sharp shooting of Jenny Roy and Maura Muensterman. Each made a season-best five 3-pointers. Roy set career highs in the game in points (17), field goals (6) field goal attempts (10), threes (5) and 3-point attempts (7).
A whopping 2,461 fans attended Belmont's game vs. Toledo on Nov. 29, a Curb Event Center record for a women's basketball game. The previous high came last year during Homecoming when 2,278 fans watched the Bruins face Tennessee State on Feb. 24, 2018.