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VOL. 43 | NO. 11 | Friday, March 15, 2019

All Belmont’s Roy needs to burnish her resume is an NCAA win

By Chip Cirillo

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Belmont senior Jenny Roy of Brentwood, the most valuable player of last week’s Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, will be playing in her fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament, where she has been winless against Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke.

-- Photograph Courtesy Of Belmont Athletics

Bart Brooks watched the video six times because he couldn’t believe what he’d just seen.

It was the night of Belmont’s game against Jacksonville State last season, and one of his guards, Jenny Roy, displayed an incredible amount of energy in one sequence.

“She was guarding their best guard, and her player passed the ball,” says Brooks, the Belmont coach. “Someone else got driven, and she helped and stopped the drive and then she closed out to another pass.”

The ball was passed to an unguarded player, so Roy sprinted over to block the shot. Then she raced downcourt for a layup.

“It was, like, seven consecutive effort plays on both ends of the floor,” Brooks recalls. “It was just unbelievable. She literally covered everything up defensively.”

Roy is always doing something on the court. No breaks. Always moving.

She is one of the main reasons why Belmont (26-6) is headed to NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

Roy was named most valuable player of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament after Belmont defeated Tennessee-Martin 59-53 in the championship game Saturday in Evansville, Indiana.

Roy led the OVC in assists at 5.6 per game, but says she enjoys defense the most.

“I’ve always taken pride in sitting down and guarding someone and just trying to get them out of their rhythm,” Roy says. “It’s something that doesn’t always show up in the stat book, but it’s always been my favorite part of the game, which with most people nowadays it’s not.”

Brooks usually puts Roy on the opponent’s best guard.

Roy was “one of the top” players Brentwood coach Ronnie Seigenthaler says he has seen in “27 years at Brentwood High School.”

-- Photograph Courtesy Of Belmont Athletics

“I think she’s the best defender in our league, and I don’t think it’s even close,” Brooks says. “Usually, when people vote for the best defensive player, they look at blocks and steals, and when I vote for best defensive player, I look at the numbers of people they guard. And the people Jenny Roy guards don’t score, so it’s unbelievable how well she’s done against the best of the best.”

Roy held Duke’s Lexie Brown, who’s now in the WNBA, seven points below her average with 13 on 3-of-10 shooting in a 72-58 loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season.

“Lexie Brown had a tough day against Jenny Roy,” Brook adds. “That’s how good she is.”

Roy celebrated her 22nd birthday with a triple-double of 10 points, 10 rebound and 10 assists in an 80-62 win at Austin Peay on Jan. 26.

It was just the third triple-double by a Belmont player in the school’s NCAA Division I history.

“Those are very rare in women’s college basketball,” APSU coach David Midlick says. “She’s definitely as good as any defensive wing or guard we’ve played against at any level. She’s really the glue of that team.”

Midlick adds he will be glad to see the 5-foot-11 senior graduate this spring so he won’t have to deal with her anymore.

Roy was one assist short of another triple-double in Saturday’s regular-season finale at Southeast Missouri when she had 15 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Belmont forward Emma Harmeyer, Roy’s roommate for all four years, knows her particularly well.

“We have not gotten in one fight,” says Harmeyer, a 6-foot redshirt junior who averages 16.7 points and 9 rebounds per game. “Isn’t that crazy? It’s a testament to her kindness and who she is as a person. She gets along with everybody and she’s super funny.”

Roy is the only female player in OVC history with at least 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 400 assists. She averages 9.2 points per game with a team-high 45 steals.

One of her best games came a month ago when she grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds in a 100-86 win over Tennessee-Martin. It was the first 20-rebound game by a Belmont player in 12 years.

Roy was the third all-time leading scorer at Brentwood High before arriving at Belmont.

“In my 27 years at Brentwood High School, I was blessed to see some very gifted female athletes, and Jenny has to be one of the top,” former Brentwood coach Ronnie Seigenthaler says. “She possessed every characteristic that you would want as a coach. Had great size, great length, great athleticism, she was a great jumper. Her understanding and love for basketball and other sports was off the charts.”

Seigenthaler, who also coached track and field, also raves – like Brooks and Harmeyer – about her leadership abilities.

Roy helped Brentwood win two state championships in volleyball as a middle blocker and was a state champion high jumper (5 feet, 6 inches) in track.

Seigenthaler says he will never forget one play at Brentwood against one of the Clarksville schools when Roy tried to block a shot, but the shooter faked.

“Jenny jumped over the girl without contact,” Seigenthaler remembers. “The official ran by me in the coach’s box and said, ‘Yes, she just jumped over the other player.’ It was a jaw-dropping moment to say the least, but there were many of those.”

One of Roy’s only struggles this season has come at the foul line, where she’s hit just 43 percent, lowest on the team.

“There was a stretch in the middle of the season where she had a rough patch of games, but she’s going to make them when they count,” Brooks says.

She has a 3.98 grade-point average in marketing. That’s all A’s except two A minuses last semester.

“Oh, man, she was not happy, let’s just say that,” Harmeyer adds of the A minuses. “You would think she had failed the class or something. She is very competitive in the classroom. 3.98 – that’s like the best of the best.”

“That probably ruined her day or week,” Brooks jokes. “She’s very meticulous.”

Roy is just as competitive in practices as in games. “We actually chart, throughout the whole season, wins in practice,” Brooks says. “So, we might play 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 or even one-on-one drills and we keep track of who wins and loses every drill. Jenny has won by percentage – it’s not even close – she’s at the top of the sheet of wins in practice. Sometimes we stack teams against her so there’s no way she should win, but she does. That’s how good she is.”

Roy has accepted a job at Gallagher, a global risk management and consulting firm in Brentwood.

Her biggest win? Last year’s 63-56 overtime thriller over UT-Martin, she says, when Belmont rallied from a six-point deficit during the final 14 seconds of regulation in the OVC Championship. Roy had 14 rebounds and nine assists.

Most painful losses? Consecutive NCAA Tournament losses to Michigan State, Kentucky (by three points in 2017) and Duke.

Three of Roy’s cousins, the Bars brothers from Montgomery Bell Academy, played football and Penn State, Michigan at Notre Dame. Another cousin plays volleyball at Ole Miss.

Roy wears No. 24 because it’s the same number her older sisters wore on their uniforms at Edmond Memorial High School in Oklahoma, where the family lived before Brentwood.

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