Updated: Sep 20
Belmont women’s basketball added two fresh faces to the roster after the departure of four players after a widely successful 2020-2021 season.
This season, the team welcomes forward Tessa Miller and guard Kilyn McGuff — and they’ve come ready to conquer the court.
“Those two freshmen have operated like they’re veterans already,” said women’s head coach Bart Brooks. “We haven’t had to slow anything down for them to catch up. They came in ready, and that’s not an easy thing to do as a freshman.”
Miller, a Tennessee native who played basketball at Crossville’s Stone Memorial High School, said she’d been wanting to play for the Bruins since her freshman year of high school.
“The first time I ever came up to Belmont was the summer before my freshman year, and I went up to one of their elite camps that they held over the summer,” said Miller.
“I talked to other colleges, but I knew in the back of my mind that this is where I wanted to end up.”
Miller transitioned into Belmont easily thanks to her teammates and coaches, who offer her words of encouragement each and every day, she said.
“A personal goal for me is to do whatever it takes to help the team, and right now, I’m just trying to learn my role and embrace it,” she said. “Whatever they need me to do, I want to try to perfect it as much as possible.”
Freshman Tessa Miller, above, is one of the two newcomers to the Belmont team. Photo courtesy of Belmont Athletics.
One of those teammates looking to make her mark as a first-time Bruin is newcomer Kilyn McGuff, who came in with the same motivated attitude and devotion to the team.
The Ohio native comes from playing for Bishop Watterson High School where she averaged 17 points per game during her senior year. But college basketball is a whole different game, she said.
“Practice is hard getting used to obviously. It’s a whole new level of the sport, but I’m working through it. My coaches are teaching me and my teammates are helping me through it all,” said McGuff.
And if there is one word to describe the mentality of that team, it is selflessness, said McGuff.
“My teammates are amazing. I’ve gotten to know them really well already, it feels like I’ve known them forever,” she said.
Brooks believes that the two freshmen will put the team into a position to win games and assist in Belmont’s goal of a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
“I think they’re both gonna compete for playing time. They’re in the mix right now for that and they both have the talent to help us win games,” he said.
Brooks is no stranger to leading the Bruins to championship titles, bringing home a fifth Ohio Valley Conference title with the women’s basketball team this past year.
Belmont stands as one of the favorites for another OVC win in the 2021-2022 season, and through their tough season schedule, a little help from some new blood may come in handy.
PHOTO: Newcomer Kilyn McGuff at a Belmont practice. Belmont Athletics.
This article was written by A.J. Wuest and Camden Morris.