#43 Belmont Women's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Belmont Bruins
Overall Rank: #43
Conference Rank: #1 Ohio Valley
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Belmont was upset by Wright State on December 18th. They would not lose again until they played Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. That was good for 22 wins in a row. The Bruins absolutely dominated the Ohio Valley Conference during Coach Bart Brooks’ first year with the program. Now he has had the opportunity to get a few more of his players into the program and the long term viability of this program looks very promising. The short term looks pretty good too. Three starters are gone, including leading scorer Kylee Smith, but Belmont does return seven players with significant experience.
2017-18 Record: 31-4, 18-0
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bart Brooks
Coach Record: 31-4 at Belmont, 31-4 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Kylee Smith, Forward, 18.7 ppg
Sally McCabe, Forward, 14.6 ppg
Sierra Jones, Guard, 4.7 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Darby Maggard, Senior, Guard, 16.6 ppg
Jenny Roy, Senior, Guard, 7.8 ppg
Maura Muensterman, Junior, Guard, 7.3 ppg
Ellie Harmeyer, Senior, Forward, 6.9 ppg
Maddie Wright, Junior, Forward, 5.0 ppg
Paris Lawson, Junior, Guard, 3.0 ppg
Caitlyn Yost, Sophomore, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Hannah Harmeyer, Senior, Guard, 1.0 ppg
Key New Players
Conley Chinn, Freshman, Forward
Maddie Cook, Freshman, Guard
Macie Culbertson, Freshman, Guard
Jamilyn Kinney, Freshman, Guard
Allison Luly, Freshman, Forward
Grace Smith, Freshman, Guard
There are five upperclassmen on the team who have some starting experience. Darby Maggard figures to be the team’s top scorer after averaging 16.6 points per game during her junior campaign. Maggard connected on an impressive 41.2 percent of her 284 attempts from beyond the arc. When her shot is falling, which is most of the time, Belmont can score in a hurry. Maggard can handle the ball too, but it is fellow senior Jenny Roy who will take on much of the ball handling duties. Roy is not much of a shooter, but she can score by attacking the basket and, more importantly, will do a great job of setting up her teammates. Maura Muensterman is another quality shooter and she will likely step into a full-time starting position this year. The frontcourt is where there are more concerns, but Ellie Harmeyer and Maddie Wright are ready to play larger roles. Both are decent shooters and should be strong on the glass. However, if Belmont wants to find another shot blocker like the departed Sally McCabe, it will have to come from their group of six newcomers. As long as this group can play solid defense even without a shot blocker, they will cruise through the OVC again in 2018-2019.  
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.6 (27th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.7 (60, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (16, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.2 (23, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 10.2 (6, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.9 (26, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.0 (114, 5)
Rebound Margin: 9.2 (11, 1)
Assists Per Game: 18.4 (10, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (27, 1)