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Lady Tops draw Ohio State in NCAA Tournament

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU is set to open NCAA Tournament play on Friday at 1:30 p.m. (CT) in Lexington, Ky., as a No. 12 seed against fifth-seeded Ohio State as announced by the NCAA selection committee during Monday evening’s ESPN selection show special.

Should the Lady Toppers advance following Friday’s game, WKU would then square off against the winner of Kentucky and Belmont on Sunday inside Memorial Coliseum. Friday’s game will be carried on ESPN2 and will feature Beth Mowins and Nell Fortner on the call.

The WKU Women’s basketball team is pictured with the C-USA Tournament trophy. (Photo courtesy of WKU Athletics)

The Lady Toppers (27-6, 16-2 C-USA) will be making their 19th appearance in the NCAA Tournament after downing Southern Miss, 67-56, in the C-USA Championships title game on Saturday afternoon. WKU has won at least one game in nine of their 18 previous NCAA appearances and owns six Sweet Sixteen trips, three Final Fours and one appearance in the national championship game in 1992.

WKU’s only two meetings against Ohio State (26-6, 15-1 Big Ten) have both come in postseason play. In the first meeting, the Lady Toppers dropped an 86-73 decision against the Buckeyes on March 25, 1993, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and WKU fell, 70-61, in the WNIT against Ohio State on March 20, 2001.

WKU enters the NCAA Tournament on a 12-game winning streak, currently the seventh-longest active streak in the nation. The Lady Toppers have a winning streak of 10 or more games in each of the last four seasons, one of only eight programs in the nation to accomplish that feat alongside national powerhouses such as Connecticut, Baylor and Notre Dame.

WKU’s NCAA Tournament appearance will be the third in five seasons under Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard, who has collected 130 victories in her five seasons on The Hill, the most in a five-year span for the Lady Toppers since 132 victories between 1990-95. Clark-Heard has joined legendary Lady Topper coach Paul Sanderford as the only coaches in program history to win three or more conference tournament titles.

Last week, the Lady Toppers became the first team in the history of C-USA to win each of their conference tournament matchups by double digits, defeating North Texas by 27 points (78-51), Louisiana Tech by 24 points (77-53) and Southern Miss by 11 points (67-56). Only two games during WKU’s current 12-game winning streak have been decided by five or fewer points, including a one-point, 75-74 thriller over Charlotte inside E.A. Diddle Arena on Feb. 23.

WKU will be seeking its first NCAA Tournament victory since defeating Marquette, 68-65, in the opening round in Durham, N.C., on March 18, 2000. The most recent NCAA Tournament victory by a C-USA representative came on March 22, 2008, when UTEP downed WKU, 92-60, in the first round.

NCAA Ticket Information: Tickets for the 2017 NCAA Tournament will be available through the WKU Ticket Office beginning Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. (CT). This is the only outlet through which fans can purchase tickets for the WKU cheering sections.

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.

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