NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Rebound is the word of the week around the Belmont women's basketball program right now. Rebound on the boards, of course, and rebound on the scoreboard after a rare Ohio Valley Conference loss last week.
Belmont, which had its 47-game conference winning streak stopped last Saturday by Tennessee Tech, will look to begin a new streak Thursday in front of a national television audience. The Bruins (8-5, 1-1 OVC) host fellow league foe Morehead State (10-5, 1-1 OVC) at the Curb Event Center at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU as well as online through WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
The contest will bring some national attention to a Belmont program whose notoriety has risen considerably the past few years, buoyed by the kind of performances on the court that led to the nation's second longest conference winning streak and a national top-25 ranking a year ago. None of that has a bearing on Thursday's outcome though, nor does the result of last week's game against Tech.
Thursday, senior Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) iterated, is a new day and a new game.
"We really focus on getting better every single day, coming in and being the best we can possibly be," began Maggard, an All-America candidate who is coming off back-to-back 19-point performances.
"Obviously a loss is never what we want, but if you use that loss to learn and to grow, to become better from it, that's all you can do. Move on to the next game and try to be better than you were the day before."
Belmont faces a Morehead State team that won 21 games each of the past two seasons and is setting the pace this year in terms of scoring among OVC squads. The Eagles average 84.4 points per game this season, boosted by a pair of 119-point-plus games against NAIA competition.
But the Bruins have proven themselves among the most stingy defenses in the conference, allowing an average of 60.7 points per game despite facing off against two of the nation's top ranked teams in North Carolina State and Tennessee.
"We've got to come out ready to defend, ready to look the person you're guarding in the eye and say, 'We're gonna get a stop today,'" Maggard said. "If we come out with that type of a mentality and a want to defend, I think we'll have success."
Belmont rounds out its weekend slate and a season-long four-game homestand by hosting Eastern Kentucky (2-11, 0-2 OVC) on Saturday. That game tips off at 3 p.m. from the Curb and can be streamed online through ESPN+ and the Watch ESPN app.