NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Consistently taking on one of the most demanding non-conference schedules in the nation, the Belmont University women’s basketball program under the leadership of head coach Bart Brooks has once again put together an impressive slate of games for the 2023-24 season. Announced Friday morning, the non-conference schedule is highlighted by home games against Southeastern Conference members Georgia and Mississippi State, the Ball Dawgs Classic in Las Vegas, and road trips to the University of Missouri and Ohio State.
“Our non-conference schedule will be another great challenge for our program this year,” spoke coach Brooks. “Our players and coaches are very excited to compete against some of the best teams, players and coaches in the country. We are thrilled to have five home games in front of our fans in the Curb this year, in addition to another great tournament in Las Vegas over thanksgiving week.”
Coach Brooks added, “Our team will be prepared for another difficult conference schedule in the Missouri Valley and I can’t wait to get started!”
Three of the Bruins’ first four games of the season will be against SEC opponents and Belmont will take on at least five power conference programs. With five home games and six away contests, the Bruins will face no fewer than nine teams who had winning records in 2022-23, including six who won 20 games or more.
At least five of Belmont’s non-conference opponents competed in last season’s NCAA Tournament and the Bruins will go up against no fewer than seven programs who made a national postseason tournament this past March. Belmont will see at least six teams who ended 2022-23 ranked in the top 60 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET), including five who finished with a top-35 NET ranking.
A trip to Columbia, Missouri, will get the Bruins’ new campaign underway on Monday, Nov. 6. Missouri went 18-14 last season and reached the second round of the WNIT. The season opener will be just the second-ever meeting between the two programs.
After Belmont visited Georgia last December, the Lady Bulldogs return the favor on Friday, Nov. 10. Georgia returns to the Curb Event Center after the Bruins hosted the Lady Bulldogs in December of 2013. Ending the year 28th in the NET, Georgia went 22-12 last season and reached the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 as a No. 10 seed before bowing out to national runner-up Iowa.
Continuing its three-game homestand, Belmont steps out of competition against the SEC and welcomes the American Athletic Conference’s Wichita State on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The Shockers were a WNIT team this past year at 18-15. The mid-November matchup will be the first meeting between the two teams.
The Bruins host two-time NCAA Tournament runner-up Mississippi State on Sunday, Nov. 19 to close out their opening homestand. The Bulldogs (22-11) earned two wins in the NCAA Tournament last March as a No. 11 seed, closing the season ranked No. 32 in the NET. Belmont also hosted Mississippi State at the Curb during the 2007-08 season.
The second-straight year playing in a prestigious MTE (multi-team event), the Bruins head to Las Vegas Thanksgiving week for the 2023 Ball Dawgs Classic held at The Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, Nevada, on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and Friday, Nov. 24. Although pairings have yet to be announced, the four-team tournament field includes Stanford, Florida State and Northwestern. Both the Cardinal (29-6) and the Seminoles (23-10) were ranked in the top 30 of the NET at the end of last season after NCAA Tournament appearances. Stanford was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, while FSU was a No. 7 seed. The Wildcats are just two seasons removed from reaching the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 as a No. 7 seed.
Belmont heads back to Las Vegas after participating in the 2017 Play4Kay Showcase at Michelob ULTRA Arena – Mandalay Bay in coach Brooks’ first year guiding the Bruins. Victories over receiving-votes Gonzaga and Florida Gulf Coast highlighted Belmont’s last stay in Nevada. Last November, the Bruins took on the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida, where Belmont faced top-25 ranked Villanova, Saint Louis and Atlantic Coast Conference member Georgia Tech.
Following their trip out west, the Bruins head to Troy, Alabama, on Wednesday, Nov. 29 for a return game of Troy’s visit to Nashville last December. Last season’s meeting was a thrilling 98-87 overtime win for Belmont in the third-highest scoring women’s basketball game in the Curb’s 20-year history. The hometown of star guard Tuti Jones, the Trojans went 17-13 this past year.
On Sunday, Dec. 3, Belmont returns to the Music City to host reigning Conference USA regular season and tournament champion Middle Tennessee. The Lady Raiders posted a 28-5 record last season and made their 20th NCAA Tournament appearance, finishing 33rd in the NET.
The 77th Battle of the Boulevard versus rival Lipscomb will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at the Curb as the final home game of the Bruins’ non-conference slate. The Bisons went 20-12 in 2022-23. Belmont holds a commanding 50-26 lead in the rivalry series and is 27-9 versus Lipscomb in the Bruins’ NCAA era.
Following an 11-day break from game action, Belmont travels to former ASUN Conference foe Kennesaw State on Sunday, Dec. 17. The Bruins and the Owls haven’t faced each other since Belmont’s final season in the ASUN in 2011-12.
Recent Elite Eight participant Ohio State serves as the Bruins’ non-conference finale on Friday, Dec. 22 in Columbus, Ohio. Led by rising junior guard Kilyn McGuff’s father, Kevin, the Buckeyes finished last season ranked sixth in the coaches poll and 16th in the NET after going 28-8. Ohio State was a No. 3 seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament and knocked off second-seeded perennial national contender UConn in the Sweet 16. The game will be only the second between the two teams after Belmont visited the Buckeyes in November of 2015.
The Bruins defeated two NCAA Tournament teams during their non-conference schedule last season (Chattanooga and Saint Louis) and nearly upended Sweet 16 members Louisville and Villanova.
Belmont is the only school in the nation to win 20 or more games for eight consecutive seasons in both women’s and men’s basketball. The Bruins won their sixth regular season conference championship in seven seasons in their first year in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2022-23. Going 23-12 overall and 17-3 against the MVC, Belmont reached its third-straight conference tournament title game before earning its 10th national postseason bid in 11 seasons.
Season tickets are on sale now and include all men’s and women’s basketball home games.
Single game tickets will go on sale later in the fall.