TOURNAMENT NOTES: Lady Tops open C-USA tourney

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – After claiming its second outright C-USA regular season championship in three seasons in the league, No. 1 seed WKU will look to secure the C-USA Tournament title and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with three victories this week. The Lady Toppers are set to open play in the quarterfinals against North Texas on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (CT).

C-USA WBK Bracket

The Lady Toppers dropped just two games in league play during the regular season, falling on the road at Charlotte (a potential semifinal opponent) and UTSA. Against UAB and North Texas, WKU posted a 3-0 record, winning by an average of 14 points.

All-C-USA First Teamers Kendall Noble and Ivy Brown lead the Lady Toppers in scoring at 16.1 and 13.9 points per game, respectively, while Second Teamer Tashia Brown is third at a 13.1 per game clip. Micah Jones also stars for WKU, logging 122 assists to just 33 turnovers.

North Texas (11-18, 8-10 C-USA) ended the regular season on a four-game slid with road defeats at Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss and home setbacks against WKU and Marshall.

With a win in its quarterfinal matchup on Thursday, WKU would advance to Friday’s semifinals against either Charlotte, Louisiana Tech or Marshall at 4:30 p.m. (CT).

WKU (24-6, 16-2 C-USA) vs. North Texas (11-18, 8-10 C-USA) OR UAB (15-14, 8-10 C-USA)
March 9, 2017 | 12:30 p.m. (CT)
Birmingham, Ala. | Bartow Arena (8,500)

WKU (24-6, 16-2 C-USA) vs. Louisiana Tech (17-12, 12-6 C-USA) OR Charlotte (20-9, 12-6 C-USA) OR Marshall (13-16, 5-13 C-USA)
March 10, 2017 | 4:30 p.m. (CT)
Birmingham, Ala. | Legacy Arena (17,654)

WKU (24-6, 16-2 C-USA) vs. TBA
March 11, 2017 | 4:30 p.m. (CT)
Birmingham, Ala. | Legacy Arena (17,654)

– WKU claimed its 12th regular season championship in program history and second since joining C-USA with last Saturday’s win at Rice. The Lady Toppers’ 16 victories in conference play matched the program record also set in 2007-08 and 2014-15.

– With a win in the C-USA Quarterfinals on Thursday, WKU would secure its fourth consecutive season with a winning streak of 10 or more games. The streak would be the fifth such streak under Michelle Clark-Heard.

– This season, WKU has attempted more free throws than its opponent in 23 of 30 contests and holds a 20-3 mark in those games. That continues a larger trend under Michelle Clark-Heard, as the Lady Toppers are 95-11 (.896) when attempting more free throws since her arrival in 2012-13.

– Kendall Noble became the all-time leader in minutes played in Lady Topper history in the win at Middle Tennessee on Feb 16. The redshirt senior currently sits at 4,331 minutes played and is one of just four players in school history to play 4,000 or more minutes alongside teammate Micah Jones, who hit the mark in the regular season finale at Rice.

– With a victory over Old Dominion on Feb. 25, WKU became one of just seven schools in the nation to finish with zero or one home losses in each of the last three seasons. The Lady Toppers join UConn, Baylor, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Green Bay and South Dakota in that category.

– WKU is ranked No. 7 in ESPNW’s final mid-major power rankings of the regular season.

– WKU’s 209 three-pointers this season have already broken the single-season program record from beyond the arc. WKU has seven or more three-pointers in 18 games this season after hitting that mark just 10 times during the 2015-16 campaign.

– Under Michelle Clark-Heard, WKU has trailed by double digits in 41 games and has rallied to win 18 times (43.9 percent of the time) when facing a double-digit deficit. Seven of those victories have come in the last two seasons alone, including wins this season after trailing by 14 (Kent State) and 13 (UAB and Charlotte).

– As a team, WKU is currently fifth in the nation with just 11.4 turnovers per game, a number that also leads C-USA for fewest among the league’s teams.

– Redshirt senior Micah Jones became the 38th member of WKU’s 1,000-point club with a season-best 16 points at UAB on Feb. 18. Jones is the third active Lady Topper to join the club after teammates Kendall Noble and Tashia Brown and is also the fifth player to reach the mark under Michelle Clark-Heard. WKU is one of just 10 Division I programs with three or more active 1,000-point scorers.

– Jones ranks second among all Division I players with a 3.70 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. Jones has dished out 122 assists to just 33 turnovers and now ranks seventh on WKU’s career charts in the category with 427 assists.

– With at least two guaranteed games remaining on the schedule, Micah Jones and Kendall Noble appear set to finish in the top five for career appearances among Lady Toppers in program history. With two more appearances, Jones would tie for second alongside Laura Ogles with 134, while Noble would match the 132 appearances by Veronica Cook and tie for fourth in school history.

– With Micah Jones joining the 1,000-point club, WKU has a trio of 1,000-point scorers on the same team for just the second time in school history. Kendall Noble, Tashia Brown and Jones have matched the feat achieved by Lillie Mason, Kami Thomas and Clemette Haskins during the 1985-86 campaign.

– Ivy Brown has moved into the top 10 on WKU’s all-time career blocked shots list. Brown now has 89 swats for her career and sits in ninth place all-time for the Lady Toppers.

– WKU owns C-USA’s top-scoring offense through 30 games, averaging 75.6 points per outing. The Lady Toppers have scored 80 or more points 10 times this season and have reached 90 points three times; WKU also leads all teams in the state of Kentucky in points per game.

– Now fifth in school history with 188 three-pointers, Micah Jones needs just six more to pass Kristina Covington (1998-2003) for fourth place on the charts.

– WKU broke the NCAA women’s basketball record for fewest points allowed in a half by holding Lipscomb to just two first-half points on Dec. 15. The mark was also the fewest in men’s basketball since the introduction of the shot clock. In addition, WKU had six players reach double figures for the first time since Jan. 21, 2009, in the victory, a stretch of nearly eight years.

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