The Belmont women’s basketball team defeated Tennessee Tech on Feb. 20 to finish undefeated at home for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.
“We’re excited to have something like that happen for our fans, and our players work very hard,” said Belmont head coach Cameron Newbauer. “Anytime you can protect your home floor like that and not have any blemishes at home, it’s a big deal.”
Coach Newbauer also attributed the 13-0 home season to the camaraderie of the team, something Newbauer credited as a large contributor of the team’s success.
“We preach a lot about being selfless and playing for each other,” said Newbauer. “Our group really bought into that this year.”
Sophomore guard Kylee Smith, who ended the season with a team-high 403 points, reflected on the camaraderie as well.
“We just have great team chemistry and we fight really hard, and at the end of the day we all have each others backs,” said Smith. “And so I think that just helps- knowing that if I miss a shot, someone else on the team is gonna pick me up, and then it just goes on from there.”
However, despite an incredible effort all year and a record of 21-8 to prove it, the Bruins never considered an undefeated home season a goal they would try to reach. Instead, the team turned this pressure into motivation to play harder.
The Bruins also took full advantage of their home court and rallied with fans to bring home the undefeated record.
“This team just has a lot of fight, and we really wanted to do something special,” said sophomore center Sally McCabe. “We knew how much of an advantage we have at home, and we wanted to use it to the best of our abilities.”
The Bruins will face off against Tennessee State in the first round of the OVC tournament Wednesday at 2 p.m. Belmont comes into the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed.
“Everybody’s excited to compete Wednesday and it’s a tough matchup for us, but they’re all tough at this point,” said Newbauer. “Anybody can beat anybody, so you just gotta show up, have your shoes laced up tight and be ready to compete.”
If the Bruins win the tournament, they will make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2007 team, which also finished undefeated at home.
This article was written by Zach Gilchriest.