NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Conference play is all about adapting against opponents who know your team the best, but Thursday evening will present an even greater example and challenge for the Belmont women's basketball team.
The Bruins (10-5, 3-1 OVC) travel to face Jacksonville State for the second time in two weeks, tipping off at JSU's Pete Mathews Coliseum at 5:15 p.m. Thursday's game can be streamed online through ESPN+ and the Watch ESPN app. An audio stream is available through the Bruin Sports Network.
It's the second meeting between the teams this season in quick succession. Belmont took the first in the series, 66-52, in the Ohio Valley Conference opener on Jan. 3 at home.
That game was relatively close through the opening three quarters before the Bruins put on the jets to pull away late. Belmont won't so much try to add new wrinkles to its game plan, instead focusing on executing its style of play more efficiently.
"It's tough because they came in and pressured us, sort of shook us off our game offensively," Belmont freshman Maddie Cook (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) said of the teams' recent meeting. "We've got to be ready to execute better."
The game with the Gamecocks (8-7, 2-2 OVC) is also Belmont's first OVC test outside the friendly confines of the Curb Event Center. The Bruins' first four games all came at home. Three of their next four will be on the road however.
That can add its own group of challenges, Cook said.
"Our first four conference games have been at home and now we're going into Jacksonville State's territory," she began. "That's a big key in us going out energized and ready to play on their court, because they have that advantage. We need to get that energy from each other without our homecourt fans."
Belmont has won the last 12 meetings between the two teams. Junior Ellie Harmeyer (Kenosha, Wis.) and senior Darby Maggard (Larwill, Ind.) combined for 42 points the last time Belmont played JSU. Harmeyer had a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bruins then make a quick return trip home to host Tennessee State on Saturday at 3 p.m.