NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The finish line is still a ways out, but the Belmont women's basketball team can certainly see it from here.
The Bruins' clash with Southeast Missouri this Thursday marks the final game of the first half of Ohio Valley Conference play. After Thursday, just nine games remain in the regular season to decide seeding for the upcoming OVC Tournament in Evansville, Ind., beginning March 6.
There's a certain sense of urgency brewing, even for a Belmont (14-5, 7-1 OVC) team tied for first in the conference standings.
"But I think we're going to use that as an opportunity to lock in and be even more focused," said senior guard Jenny Roy (Brentwood, Tenn.) fresh off her triple-double performance last weekend at Austin Peay. "Every possession matters and that's how it has to be. That's why basketball's so fun. A few things can add up to make a big difference. We're definitely locked in and ready to attack this last half of the season."
The home stretch starts with SEMO (10-9, 5-3 OVC) visiting the Curb Event Center for a 5 p.m. tipoff Thursday. The game can be streamed online through ESPN+ and the Watch ESPN app. Live audio is also available to stream through the Bruin Sports Network.
Belmont has won its past six games and holds the longest active winning streak in the OVC. A team built on defense and rebounding, no squad in the league is allowing fewer points per game (57.3) and Belmont is out-rebounding its opponents by an OVC-best 6.1 boards per game.
The Bruins know the importance of doing the little things and they'll need to keep doing them right against a surging SEMO team that has won three straight. The same goes again Saturday against dangerous UT Martin (14-5, 6-2), who took Belmont to overtime in last year's OVC championship game, when the Skyhawks come to the Curb at 3 p.m. that afternoon.
"We know we have to finish plays" Roy added. "There's been a few close games, that's how our conference is. This part of the year is a grind. Focusing every day, bringing our toughness, every game has a life of its own so maintaining that we can control what we can control."