NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fresh off an uplifting victory over Chattanooga, the Belmont women's basketball team plays its final non-conference home game of the season Friday when the Bruins welcome in Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves and Bruins will play a matinee-style game, tipping off at noon from the Curb Event Center and leading into the holiday break for both teams. The game will be available to stream through ESPN+ and the Watch ESPN app.
Belmont's win against the Mocs followed a 13-day hiatus during semester final exams, and the Bruins will have another short break on the schedule for the holidays. The timing of games has been a good challenge, said Belmont senior guard Jenny Roy, one as much mental as physical.
"It's tough for us, but also because we're playing some really tough teams," said Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.). "It's a lot about getting better every day and learning to stay mentally focused because there are a lot of those weird breaks. You need to be on your game no matter what day it is, no matter what time you're playing. All those other factors don't matter. December is a good time for us to learn and grow and dedicate ourselves to every performance."
The Bruins are 6-3 and have won two in a row since uncharacteristic back-to-back losses in the early portion of December. The Red Wolves carry a 5-4 record, which has included a win over OVC member Murray State and an overtime loss to the OVC's UT Martin.
Belmont will play both squads in the coming months during Ohio Valley Conference play. The Bruins' first league matchup of the season comes Jan. 3 against Jacksonville State following the conclusion of non-conference play at nationally ranked Tennessee on Dec. 30.
Belmont and Arkansas State have met only three times in the programs' shared history with the Red Wolves winning two of those. Belmont took the most recent meeting just last season, an 83-52 road win. The Bruins have never beaten ASU at home.
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.
LIGHTS OUT SHOOTER
Maggard is tied for second among active NCAA players in career 3-pointers (344) and is first in free-throw percentage (92.8%). She is also No. 3 among active players in 3-point shooting percentage (43.3%), third in assists (575) and second assist-to-turnover ratio (2.78).
Jenny Roy surpassed 700 rebounds for her Belmont career with seven boards at Chattanooga on Dec. 17. Now at 706 rebounds, she will tie former Bruin Alysha Clark for sixth in Belmont's NCAA Division I era with her next rebound.
With four assists at Chattanooga on Dec. 17, Maggard moved into second place in Belmont's all-time record book with 575 career assists, trailing only Cherie Stivers (826). Maggard's assist total also ranks her ninth in OVC history. She long ago became the program's assist leader in its NCAA era.
With a 67-51 win at Chattanooga, Belmont earned its first win over the Mocs since November 1978. It's the second drought of more than 40 snapped by the Bruins this year after Belmont topped Middle Tennessee on Nov. 19 for its first win over the Blue Raiders since 1975. Belmont has also earned landmark wins over Northern Kentucky (26 years) and Wright State (21 years).
Belmont ranks 13th in the nation with 9.8 made 3-pointers per game and has five games this season with at least 11 made threes. The Bruins ranked third in the nation last year with 357 made 3-pointers, averaging 10.2 per game. They hit at least 10 threes in 18 games last season.