BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – After locking up the No. 1 seed in next week’s C-USA Tournament with a 75-55 win at North Texas on Thursday evening, WKU will seek to claim the outright C-USA regular season championship on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. on the road at Rice. The title would be WKU’s second outright championship in three seasons as a member of the league.
The Lady Toppers lead the all-time series against the Owls, 2-0, and have won each meeting since joining C-USA. Last season inside E.A. Diddle Arena, WKU survived a buzzer-beating three-pointer that was off the mark in a 52-49 win.
Rice enters Saturday’s matchup coming off an 84-74 win over Marshall on Thursday night. The Owls won four of their seven games in the month of February, including a four-game winning streak over FIU, Florida Atlantic, UTSA and UTEP.
Entering Saturday, North Texas has three players in double figures: Nicole Iademarco (12.2), Shani Rainey (11.9) and Jasmine Goodwine (11.9). Goodwine and Lexie Ducat lead the team with 4.7 rebounds per game, while Maya Hawkins handles point guard duties, dishing out 138 assists to 74 turnovers this season.
Following Saturday’s game, top-seeded WKU will await the winner of the No. 8-No. 9 seed matchup in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament next Thursday.
GAME #30 – WKU AT RICE
WKU (23-6, 15-2 C-USA) at Rice (17-11, 8-9 C-USA)
March 4, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. (CT)
Houston, Texas | Tudor Fieldhouse (5,750)
WKU Game Notes
– With its victory at North Texas on Thursday evening, WKU earned at least a share of the C-USA regular season championship, its second regular season crown in three seasons as a member of the league.
– The win at North Texas also assured WKU of a third straight season with 15 or more conference victories, extending the program record.
– With a victory last Saturday, 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 200 three-pointers this season have already broken the single-season program record from beyond the arc. WKU has seven or more three-pointers in 17 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 fourth in the nation with just 11.3 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 nine Division I programs with three or more active 1,000-point scorers.
– Jones leads all Division I players with a 3.72 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. Jones has dished out 119 assists to just 32 turnovers and now ranks seventh on WKU’s career charts in the category with 424 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.
– 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 4,291 minutes played and is one of just three players in school history to play 4,000 or more minutes.
– 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 29 games, averaging 75.4 points per outing. The Lady Toppers have scored 80 or more points nine times this season and have reached 90 points three times and trail only Louisville’s 75.5 points per game among teams in the state of Kentucky.
– Now fifth in school history with 187 three-pointers, Micah Jones needs just seven 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.
Listen: 100.7 FM, 1450AM in Bowling Green (Barry Williams, pxp)
Watch: C-USA TV (Online Stream)
Live Stats: RiceOwls.com