NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont women's basketball (20-5) will face the Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-3) in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament next Monday in San Marcos, Texas.
The No. 12 seed Bruins will tip off against the fifth-seeded Bulldogs at 3 p.m. CT, with the game televised live on ESPN2.
Belmont is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance, and fifth in the last six years, after defeating top-seeded UT Martin in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game on March 6. It became just the third OVC program ever to log five conference tournament championships in a six-year span.
Freshman guard Destinee Wells posted a career-high 32 points, seven assists and four steals in the championship game en route to OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Wells became the first freshman named conference tournament MVP since 2011.
"This is extremely special considering all our team had to overcome this season. The poise and resiliency our players showed the last month of the season was on full display in the OVC Championship," said head coach Bart Brooks. "Gonzaga is a tremendous program; one we have great respect for and has our full attention. What excites me most about our team is our approach, how we will embrace the challenge of this week and how hungry we are to achieve more."
This season, the Bruins defeated Auburn, Conference USA champion Middle Tennessee and aforementioned UT Martin, among others. Overall, the team had nine game postponements and two game cancellations in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
Belmont will enter the NCAA Tournament having won 10 consecutive games by an average margin 15.2 points and rank inside the top 50 nationally in 14 statistical categories. This includes the sixth-most steals (272) and 15th-most 3-point field goals made (217) in the country.
The Bruins have posted six consecutive 20-win seasons and are a sparkling 109-9 in their last 118 OVC games (including tournament). Belmont also earned a No. 12 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament; a season which saw the Bruins ranked as high as No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25.
This marks the second all-time meeting between Belmont and Gonzaga, as the Bruins won the previous meeting on Nov. 23, 2017, by a 71-63 margin in Las Vegas.
For more information on the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship and a complete bracket, visit NCAA.com.