After one of its best seasons ever, the Belmont women’s basketball team is right back at it, dropping its 2022-23 non-conference schedule featuring games against Louisville, Georgia and more.
Like always, head coach Bart Brooks tries to set up his team for the postseason by building one of the toughest schedules in all of college basketball. Belmont will face at least seven 20-win programs from last season. Nine of the known non-conference opponents combined for nearly 200 victories a season ago.
Belmont’s non-conference schedule also features five NCAA Tournament teams from 2021-22, four of which reached at least the Round of 32, with the possibility to face even more at the 2022 Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida.
“I’m really excited for our program to have the opportunity to compete against some of the best players and coaches in the country this year,” says coach Brooks. “We have a great mix of local rivals and nationally-recognized programs on our schedule this season. I know our fans will love the opportunity to watch our team compete in some amazing environments against outstanding competition. We know our challenging non-conference schedule will help prepare us for the great competition that awaits us in our first season in the Missouri Valley Conference.”
The Bruins will welcome Louisville, a reigning Final Four team, and Georgia Tech at the Curb Event Center in two of the most highly anticipated games 0f the year.
Belmont will host two games in both November and December on the newly refurbished Rick Byrd Court inside the Curb Event Center beginning with its season opener on Wednesday, Nov. 9 versus the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Bruins will then face Louisville on Sunday, Nov. 13. The Cardinals went 29-5 in 2021-22 and were a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will represent the first-ever reigning Final Four team Belmont has hosted.
Renewing a local rivalry after last season’s matchup was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, the Bruins will take on 2022 WNIT semifinalist Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The Lady Raiders went 27-8 a season ago and won four games in the WNIT, including victories over Wake Forest and Vanderbilt.
On Sunday, Nov. 20, Belmont will travel to defending Big Ten Conference regular season and tournament champion Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes received a No. 2 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament after going 14-4 in Big Ten play and were one possession away from a third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. Iowa finished 24-8 on the season.
The Bruins will take part in one of the premier in-season college basketball tournaments when they make the trip to the Sunshine State for the 2022 Gulf Coast Showcase, held Friday-Sunday, Nov. 25-27 inside Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida. Belmont will see Villanova in the quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 25 at 12:30 p.m. CT with the winner advancing to play either Baylor or Saint Louis in the semifinals. The Wildcats went 24-9 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament after upsetting sixth-seeded BYU as a No. 11 seed.
The semifinals of the Gulf Coast Showcase will take place on Saturday, Nov. 26 and the championship will be held on Sunday, Nov. 27. The tournament bracket also includes consolation matchups with the Bruins guaranteed three games across Thanksgiving weekend.
Returning to Nashville, Belmont will host another NCAA Tournament team from last season when Georgia Tech visits on Sunday, Dec. 4. The second ACC team to play in the Curb, the Yellow Jackets went 21-11 in 2021-22 and were a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The 76th Battle of the Boulevard versus Lipscomb is set for Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the opposite end of the boulevard inside Allen Arena. Following an 11-day break from game action, the Bruins will head to Athens, Georgia, to face Southeastern Conference mainstay Georgia on Saturday, Dec. 17. The Bulldogs posted a 21-10 record last season and reached the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed. Belmont has defeated an SEC team on the road each of the last two seasons.
Wrapping up their non-conference slate, the Bruins will welcome defending Sun Belt Conference regular season champion Troy to the Curb on Tuesday, Dec. 20. The Trojans went 24-9 last year and qualified for the WNIT.
Six of Belmont’s set non-conference opponents finished in the top 70 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings last year led by No. 5 Louisville, followed by No. 14 Iowa, No. 29 Georgia, No. 33 Georgia Tech, No. 57 Middle Tennessee and No. 70 Villanova. The Bruins ended last season ranked No. 45 in the NET.
Belmont, who returns seven of its top nine players including its top three scorers, reached its second consecutive NCAA Tournament Round of 32 as a No. 12 seed last March with a thrilling, double-overtime victory over fifth-seeded Oregon (73-70). The Bruins became only the second program in Division I women’s basketball history to win NCAA Tournament games in back-to-back seasons as a No. 12 seed or lower.
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