ESPNKY

Jones, Noble push Lady Tops past ODU on Senior Day

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Redshirt seniors Micah Jones and Kendall Noble combined for 39 points in their final regular season home appearance in E.A. Diddle Arena, downing Old Dominion, 79-73, in C-USA action on Saturday afternoon.

Seniors Micah Jones, Ima Akpan and Kendall Noble are recognized on Senior Day for the WKU Lady Toppers. (Steve Roberts-WKU Athletic)

With the victory, WKU (22-6, 14-2 C-USA) wrapped up its first perfect home slate in conference play since also going 9-0 as a member of the Sun Belt during the 2007-08 campaign. The Lady Toppers have now won seven games in a row as well as eight consecutive meetings against Old Dominion (15-12, 10-6 C-USA).

Jones, Noble and Ima Akpan were honored in a special postgame Senior Day ceremony for their accomplishments with the program. Under Jones and Noble, WKU has won 125 games since the 2012-13 season, its most in a five-year span since the Paul Sanderford era of 1990-95.

Jones led all scorers on the afternoon with a season-best 21 points, knocking down seven of her 10 shots overall and six of her eight chances from beyond the arc. After going scoreless in the first half, Noble tallied 18 points over the final 20 minutes to go along with six rebounds and five assists. Ivy Brown and Tashia Brown each joined the seniors in double figures, notching 15 and 10 points, respectively.

For Old Dominion, Annika Holopainen and Jennie Simms each had a team-best 18 points, and Ashley Jackson rounded out the trio in double figures with 10 points. Destinee Young fell just shy of a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.

WKU jumped in front by scoring the first five points of the day off Kyvin Goodin-Rogers’ layup and a three-pointer from Ivy Brown. Old Dominion got on the board with a layup from Jackson, but another early three-pointer for WKU, this time from Jones, gave the Lady Toppers an early 8-2 lead.

The Lady Topper lead grew to as many as nine points before the end of the quarter and WKU carried a 25-18 edge into the second frame.

Over the first four minutes of the second quarter, Old Dominion whittled WKU’s lead to just two points with a 9-2 run. Holopainen kicked off the run with a three-pointer and Young’s three-point play with 6:02 on the clock brought the Lady Monarchs within one possession, 29-27.

WKU answered with a long 9-1 run of its own spanning three and a half minutes. Ivy Brown keyed the run with five points and Jaycee Coe’s three-pointer at 1:19 punctuated the burst and gave WKU a 38-29 lead. Jones knocked down a long three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to send the Lady Toppers into the locker room up 41-33.

Out of the gates to begin the third quarter, the Lady Monarchs again trimmed WKU’s lead to just six points off baskets from Jackson and Holopainen. Just as Old Dominion closed within two possessions, however, the Lady Toppers answered with five straight points, including another three-pointer from Jones to rebuild a double-digit lead.

Old Dominion pulled within seven points on Carolina Bernardeco’s three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining in the quarter, but WKU again rebuilt its double-digit advantage after two free throws from Tashia Brown and a triple from Jones.

In the fourth quarter, WKU did not allow the Lady Monarchs any closer than six points down the stretch, completing the wire-to-wire 79-73 victory.

WKU will return to action next Thursday at 7 p.m. as the Lady Toppers trek west to Denton, Texas, to take on North Texas. The team will then wrap up the regular season with a 2 p.m. matchup next Saturday afternoon at Rice before heading to Birmingham, Ala., for the C-USA Tournament the following week.

How to Follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Lady Topper Basketball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the program via social media @LadyTopperHoops on Twitter, @LadyTopperHoops on Instagram and on Facebook at facebook.com/WKUWomensBasketball.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *