For the second straight year, Belmont basketball looks to dominate the Ohio Valley Conference.
The women’s and men’s basketball teams were both picked to win the OVC by the Preseason Men’s and Women’s Media Poll.
The players have earned individual awards as well. Senior Ellie Harmeyer was voted Preseason Player of the Year while Austin Peay’s junior Terry Taylor was picked Preseason Player of the Year for the men’s.
Senior Ellie Harmeyer with the Bruins against UT Martin.
Though the Bruins lost key seniors on both the men’s and women’s team, expectations are still high going into the 2019-2020 season.
Harmeyer had an explosive season last year, averaging 16.9 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game and shooting 48 percent from the field. Without the presence of Darby Maggard and Jenny Roy, the court is wide open for Harmeyer to become Belmont’s No. 1 offensive option.
“It is extremely humbling being voted OVC preseason Player of the Year by the media, but there is absolutely no way I could do anything without my teammates,” said Harmeyer. “They are all so incredible and I am excited to see what this team will accomplish this season.”
Harmeyer is leading this Belmont team into the season with 11 first place votes, putting the Bruins far in front of Tennessee Tech University and the University of Tennessee Martin, which were awarded two votes and one vote, respectively. The Bruins beat Tech in the OVC semifinal and UT Martin in the final.
The Golden Eagles’ coach Kim Rosamend was named 2019 OVC Coach of the Year and has returning 2019 leading scorers Jordan Brock and Kesha Brady.
The men’s team will also look very different this season as head coach Rick Byrd retired at the end of last season following 33 years with the Bruins, putting the spotlight on new head coach Casey Alexander to deliver.
Even with the coaching change and the loss of Dylan Windler and Kevin McClain, the Bruins received 11 first place votes while the Murray State University Racers received three in second place and Austin Peay received one, sitting in third place. The Governors lost in the conference tournament semifinal to the Bruins last season but have an advantage with a player like Taylor on the court.
Taylor is the clear frontrunner to win OVC Player of the Year, as he averaged 20.5 points per game and shot 53 percent from the field. With Belmont’s big man Nick Muszynski on the roster as well, he may give Taylor a run for his money. Muszynksi won OVC Freshman of the Year and averaged 14.7 points per game.
The OVC will release its coaches poll and All-OVC Preseason Team on Tuesday.
Photos by Carina Eudy.