Women’s Basketball Hosts North Florida in Pack the House Challenge Matchup
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont women's basketball team will look to pull out of the three-way tie it is locked in for third place in the Atlantic Sun with a pair of contests at the Curb Event Center this week. The Bruins host North Florida (8-12, 5-4 A-Sun) on Thursday night as part of the NCAA's Pack the House Challenge and Jacksonville (7-12, 5-4 A-Sun) on Saturday evening.
North Florida brings its recent two-game win streak to the Curb Event Center this week. The Ospreys are locked with Belmont and Jacksonville in a three-way tie for third place in the Atlantic Sun with a 5-4 mark. UNF stands 8-12 overall. The team is lead in scoring by Brittany Kirkland, who is averaging 12.8 points per game. Larkira Jones leads the Ospreys in rebounding, grabbing 7.4 boards per contest.
The Bruins won the last meeting between the programs in Jacksonville, 54-37, to snap a five-game skid. Sophomore Molly Ernst led the Bruins with a game-high 17 points. Senior Haley Nelson notched her fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Freshman Adrienne Tarrence notched the lone block of the contest.
Belmont leads the all-time series 8-4 and has won four of the last five matchups between the programs.
Despite a strong comeback effort waged late in the second half, the Belmont women's basketball team was held off on the road by USC Upstate last Saturday afternoon, 61-51. The Spartans used a strong performance at the free-throw line in the final six minutes of regulation to hold on for the 61-51 win. Senior Haley Nelson (Scottsboro, Ala.) notched her 10th double-double of the season with a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds. Redshirt junior Katie Brooks (Maryville, Tenn.) reached double figures, adding 14 points in the effort, just one shy of matching her career high. Brooks also finished with a game-high four assists. Freshman Adrienne Tarrence (Bowling Green, Ky.) went 3-for-4 at the stripe while Ernst and Brooks were both perfect at 2-for-2.
Nelson, who was tabbed Atlantic Sun Player of the Week for a second consecutive week, leads BU in scoring, field-goal percentage, rebounding, blocks and steals. She is averaging 15.0 points and 8.4 boards per outing as well as 2.0 stops and 2.0 swipes per game. Brooks leads the team in assists with a total of 68. Sophomores Molly Ernst (Louisville, Ky.) and Julianne Downs (Franklin, Tenn.) and freshman Katie Carroll (Lilburn, Ga.) lead the Bruins in shooting at the charity stripe, knocking down 86.4, 84.6 and 83.3 percent, respectively. Junior Alyssa Visbeen (Franklin, Tenn.) tops BU's three-point shooters, knocking down 35.6 percent from behind the arc.
Three Bruins continue to make their presence felt in NCAA Division I statistics this week (as of 1/19). Nelson also continues to stand among the best statistically among all NCAA Division I players in a whopping six categories. Her highest rankings are 10th in double doubles (10), 34th in field-goal percentage (.525) and 48th in blocked shots per game (2.0). She is also ranked 105th in rebounds per game (8.4), 152nd in points per game (15.0), and 225th in steals per game (2.0). Brooks comes in at 194th in both assist-to-turnover ratio (1.11) and assists per game (3.4). Ernst is ranked 104th in three-point field goals per game (2.1) and 106th in three-point field-goal percentage (.317).
Thursday's contest is slated to tip-off at 7 p.m. in the Curb Event Center. The matchup can be heard live via the internet on the Bruins Sports Network and seen on ASun.TV. Live stats and a Twitter feed (@BelmontWBB) will also be available. Residents of Williamson County who visit a special link and enter the promotional code: "WILLIAMSON" will be able to purchase tickets at greatly reduced group rate prices. With the code, tickets for adults are $3 while tickets for children are only $1. Click here to use the promo code to purchase tickets.