LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Bellarmine University women’s basketball team journeyed to Missouri with its first Women’s Basketball Coaches Association top 25 ranking of the season in tow, and the No. 25 Knights expect that rating to be tested this week in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
The lineup for Bellarmine (15-2, 9-2 GLVC) consists of heading to Missouri S&T (6-12, 2-9) for a 6:30 p.m. (ET)meeting on Thursday before traveling for a top 25 showdown with No. 12 Drury (16-3, 9-2) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
With seven regular-season games remaining, Bellarmine is in second place in the GLVC East. The Knights are two back of leader Lewis, but they are also two ahead of third-place Saint Joseph’s. BU is coming off one of its more complete weeks of play performance-wise after posting consecutive 20-point wins over St. Joe’s and Indianapolis.
On the other side of the division, Drury is tied with Quincy atop the GLVC West. That pair is one game ahead of third-place Truman State.
Missouri S&T is coming off losses last week to Truman State (51-42) and Quincy (69-56). The Miners carry one of the GLVC’s stingiest defenses, ranking fifth in field-goal percentage defense (37.8) and sixth in points allowed (60.8). Bria Pierce leads S&T in scoring at 11.1 points per game while Raetchel Gray adds 9.2.
Saturday’s game will pit the GLVC’s highest-scoring offense in Bellarmine (77.2) against its second-highest scoring unit in Drury (75.6). The Panthers are outscoring their opponents by nearly 13 points per game, while the Knights are close to 12. Drury tops the GLVC in 3-point percentage (42.3 behind 8.5 makes per game) and is highly accurate overall (46.4 percent, second only to Lewis’ 50.2). Perimeter defense has been one of the Knights’ strengths, as they lead the league in 3-point percentage defense (25.6).
Drury possesses a dangerous scoring combination in Annie Armstrong (15.0 points per game) and Alice Heinzler (13.1). Both are in the top 12 in the GLVC in scoring and the top five in 3-pointers made – they’ve combined for 95 of the latter category.
Drury has been red hot since dropping consecutive games to Lewis and Wisconsin-Parkside. The Panthers have won six straight games with the last four all coming by double digits. Most recently, Drury defeated Quincy 76-65 and Truman State 72-59.
In addition to scoring and 3-point defense, Bellarmine tops the GLVC in assists (17.4), steals (11.1), turnover margin (plus-3.9), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.03) and offensive rebounding (15.2).
For more coverage of Bellarmine athletics, follow us on Twitter (@BUKnights), Instagram (BUKnights) and Facebook (BUKnights).