October 10, 2023 – The much anticipated 2023-24 Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball schedule has been announced. Unveiled by the conference office Tuesday morning, the 20-game MVC slate features nine matchups for the Belmont University women’s basketball program against teams who made a national postseason tournament last year.
In addition to the Bruins, four Valley teams won at least 20 games in 2022-23 and Belmont will take on each twice this season.
Highlighted by a pair of three-game homestands, the Bruins’ MVC schedule will begin on Saturday, Dec. 30 when Belmont hosts the University of Illinois Chicago. The Flames earned a berth into the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) last season and finished 19-17 overall. UIC is one of two teams the Bruins will see just once during the regular season.
Beginning the league schedule with three consecutive games in the Music City, Belmont will start the new year with defending regular season co-champion Illinois State visiting the Curb Event Center on Thursday, Jan. 4. The Redbirds went 17-3 in the Valley last season and posted a 24-9 overall record, earning the MVC’s automatic bid to the Postseason WNIT.
The Bruins close out their first MVC three-game homestand on Saturday, Jan. 6 with Bradley, before embarking on a lengthy four-game road stretch.
Belmont heads to the Hoosier State first for games at Evansville on Friday, Jan. 12 and Indiana State on Sunday, Jan. 14. The following weekend, the Bruins make their Iowa trip. A meeting with Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, is set for Friday, Jan. 19 and Belmont will take on Northern Iowa on Sunday, Jan. 21 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Bulldogs went 22-10 last year and 14-6 in the Valley, capturing the Hoops in the Heartland title and earning the MVC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers hosted a WNIT first-round game last March after going 16-4 against the league. Northern Iowa finished 2022-23 tied with the Bruins for the second-most wins of any MVC team, going 23-10.
On Friday, Jan. 26, Belmont returns to Nashville for its second three-game homestand beginning with Missouri State. The Lady Bears also made the 2023 WNIT and posted a 20-12 record, finishing 14-6 in the Valley.
The Bruins host Southern Illinois on Sunday, Jan. 28 and finish their homestand with familiar conference foe Murray State on Saturday, Feb. 3.
After welcoming Missouri State and Southern Illinois to the Curb to complete January, Belmont returns the trip just two weeks later. The Bruins travel to Springfield, Missouri, to face Missouri State on Friday, Feb. 9 and stop by Carbondale, Illinois, on the way back where they will play the Salukis on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 11.
Belmont gets the Panthers of Northern Iowa at the Curb on Thursday, Feb. 15 and hosts Drake on Saturday, Feb. 17.
With Valparaiso representing the second team the Bruins will meet only once during the regular season, Belmont travels to Valparaiso, Indiana, on Thursday, Feb. 22. The Bruins then go to Murray State on Sunday, Feb. 25 before closing out the home portion of their Valley slate the following weekend.
Tipping off the most exciting month of college basketball, Belmont welcomes Indiana State to the Music City on Friday, March 1. The Bruins will celebrate senior day with Evansville at the Curb on Sunday, March 3, for Belmont’s first-ever MVC doubleheader.
Wrapping up the regular season, the Bruins will make their way to the Land of Lincoln for road tilts at Bradley on Thursday, March 7 and Illinois State on Saturday, March 9.
The 2024 MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament, affectionately named Hoops in the Heartland, will take place Thursday-Sunday, March 14-17 at Vibrant Arena at the MARK in Moline, Illinois. The 12-team tournament held in the Quad Cities will be broadcast on The Valley on ESPN with the title game airing on ESPNU for the third-straight year. The MVC has conducted its women’s basketball championship at a neutral site every year since 2008 and has hosted the Valley Tournament at Vibrant Arena at the MARK every year since 2016. Hoops in the Heartland is the only current Division I stand-alone women’s basketball event held in the same city eight or more consecutive years.
The MVC has boasted a top-15 NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET)/Rating Percentage Index (RPI) conference ranking for five-straight seasons. Additionally, the Valley has had four teams finish within the top 100 of the NET rankings for four consecutive years. The MVC was 13th in the NET conference rankings in 2022-23.
Belmont ended last season 84th in the NET, while Drake led the Valley ranked 51st. Northern Iowa finished 64th in the NET and Illinois State was 90th.
The Bruins’ MVC schedule only adds to the strength of Belmont’s already challenging 2023-24 calendar. Continually putting together one of the most demanding non-conference schedules in the nation, the Bruins’ early season is quite impressive.
Highlighted by home games against Southeastern Conference members Georgia (Nov. 10) and Mississippi State (Nov. 19), Belmont will play in the 2023 Ball Dawgs Classic in Las Vegas (Nov. 22-24) where it will go up against perennial national power Stanford and travel to the University of Missouri (Nov. 6) and Ohio State (Dec. 22). In fact, three of the Bruins’ first four games of the season will be against SEC opponents and Belmont will take on six power conference programs.
Including their MVC slate, the Bruins will face no fewer than 14 teams who had a winning record in 2022-23, including 10 who won 20 games or more. At least six of Belmont’s opponents this year competed in last season’s NCAA Tournament and the Bruins will go up against no fewer than 12 programs who made a national postseason tournament this past March.
Belmont will see at least eight teams who ended 2022-23 ranked in the top 75 of the NET, including five who finished within the top 35.
In addition to the Bruins’ MVC schedule, Belmont’s non-conference tipoff times have been set.
Monday, Nov. 6 | Belmont at Missouri | 11:30 a.m.
Friday , Nov. 10 | Georgia at Belmont | 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 15 | Wichita State at Belmont | 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 19 | Mississippi State at Belmont | 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 22 | Belmont vs. Stanford in Henderson, Nevada (Ball Dawgs Classic) | 3:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 24 | Belmont vs. TBD in Henderson, Nevada (Ball Dawgs Classic) | TBD
Wednesday, Nov. 29 | Belmont at Troy | 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 3 | Middle Tennessee at Belmont | 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 6 | Lipscomb at Belmont | 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 17 | Belmont at Kennesaw State | 1:00 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 22 | Belmont at Ohio State | 12:00 p.m.
All times listed in Central Time (CT)
Tip times for MVC games will be announced soon.
The Bruins won their sixth regular season conference championship in seven seasons in their first year in the Valley. Going 23-12 overall and 17-3 against the MVC, Belmont reached its third-straight conference tournament title game before earning its 10th national postseason bid in 11 seasons.
Belmont is the only school in the nation to win 20 or more games for eight consecutive seasons in both women’s and men’s basketball.
Both single game and season tickets are on sale now. Season tickets are only $199 per seat and include all women’s and men’s basketball home games.
Flex pack plans for the 2023-24 season area also on sale and can be purchased here.
For more information, call 615-460-BALL or visit BelmontBruins.com/Tickets.