BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – For the 73rd time in program history, WKU is set to clash with
archrival Middle Tennessee inside the Murphy Center on Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m.
The Lady Toppers enter Thursday’s clash having won five straight games against the
Blue Raiders, including back-to-back road tilts in each of the last two seasons,
their second-longest winning streak in the longtime series.
WKU could not hang on to a late third-quarter lead in its last time out on Saturday,
dropping a 76-67 against North Texas. Raneem Elgedawy (14), Whitney Creech (11) and
Dee Givens (10) each hit double figures for the Lady Toppers despite the setback
inside E.A. Diddle Arena.
Thursday’s bout will be Greg Collins’ first as head coach against the Blue Raiders,
but the first-year head man helped to lead the Lady Toppers to a 6-3 record against
Middle Tennessee as both an assistant and associate head coach over the last six
Transfer A’Queen Hayes leads Middle Tennessee with 15.3 points per game this season,
followed closely by Alex Johnson (14.9) and Taylor Sutton (11.2). Hayes also leads
the squad with 7.7 rebounds per game and 83 total assists this season. The Blue
Raiders excel defensively, holding opponents to just 54.9 points per game, the
12th-best mark among Division I teams.
WKU will remain on the road for Saturday’s 2 p.m. battle at UAB in a rematch of the
2018 C-USA Tournament championship game that WKU claimed in a 72-57 victory.
GAME #26 / C-USA GAME #12 – WKU AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE
WKU (14-11, 8-3 C-USA) at Middle Tennessee (18-6, 9-2 C-USA)
February 14, 2019 | 6:30 p.m. (CT)
Murfreesboro, Tenn. | Murphy Center (11,520)
– WKU moved one step closer to the 1,000-win plateau with its victory at UTEP on
Feb. 2. The Lady Toppers now sit just two wins shy of becoming the 10th program in
Division I history to reach that mark and could reach the 1,000-win mark as early as
Saturday afternoon at UAB.
– On Monday evening, the NCAA revealed its first look at the top 16 seeds for the
upcoming NCAA Tournament, and the Lady Toppers have faced five of the 16 teams on
the list. This season, WKU has squared off against top seed Louisville, No. 2 seed
Notre Dame, No. 3 seeds Iowa and Oregon State and No. 4 seed Gonzaga.
– WKU will be meeting Middle Tennessee for the 73rd time in series history, by far
its most meetings against a single C-USA opponent in program history. The series
began in the 1924-25 campaign, and the Blue Raiders hold a 41-31 all-time edge over
the Lady Toppers.
– WKU’s current five-game winning streak over the Blue Raiders is its second-longest
in series history, trailing only a nine-game winning streak from 1983-98. The Lady
Toppers have also not won three straight games in Murfreesboro since that streak.
– With its 12-point comeback victory at UTEP on Feb. 2, WKU recorded its 19th
double-digit comeback since 2012-13 when Greg Collins joined the staff. Of those 19
comebacks, 12 have come either on the road or in neutral-site games, and 12 have
also come against conference opponents. The comeback at UTEP was WKU’s first win
when trailing by double digits since overcoming a 13-point deficit against Charlotte
on Feb. 23, 2017.
– Among the 23 first-time Division I head coaches this season, Greg Collins is
currently second with his 14 victories, trailing only Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen
with 17 wins. More impressively, no other team under a first-time head coach is
averaging more points per game than the Lady Toppers, who are scoring at a 74.9 per
– WKU has enjoyed one of its best shooting seasons in recent memory and has hit the
50 percent mark from the floor in 11 games already this season. The Lady Toppers
shot 50 percent or better in six straight games from Dec. 29 through Jan. 19, its
longest such streak since at least the 1987-88 campaign. Since Greg Collins has been
on The Hill in 2012-13, WKU is 35-3 when shooting 50 percent or better.
– At UTEP on Feb. 2, Raneem Elgedawy (27) and Dee Givens (26) paired to score 53 of
WKU’s 64 points against the Miners. That marked the second time this season that the
duo has combined to score 50 or more points after the two previously scored 59
combined points at FIU on Jan. 17.
– Through 25 games, the single-season three-point makes record in school history is
potentially in sight for the Lady Toppers. WKU has knocked down 166 triples this
season and is chasing the record of 242 set in 2016-17. WKU’s 166 makes already rank
10th in program history for a single season and would jump to ninth with eight more
– Since joining C-USA prior to the 2014-15 campaign, WKU has earned 30 road
victories in conference play. That number tops victory totals for all other C-USA
programs on their own home courts over the same span.
– Over its first five seasons as a member of Conference USA, WKU owns a 67-14 mark
against the rest of the league since joining and posted a 12-4 record last season.
– This season, WKU’s defense has limited its opponents to fewer than 70 points on 13
occasions, coming away with a win in all but two of those games. Over the last three
seasons dating back to 2016-17, the Lady Toppers have posted a 54-5 record when
holding their opponents under 70 points, including a perfect 33-0 mark when limiting
them to fewer than 60 points.
– Dee Givens has 75 total steals, an average of 3.0 per game, this season, a number
that ranks 12th among all qualifying Division I players. Givens’ 75 steals is also
the top mark among all C-USA players. Givens enjoyed a breakout defensive game with
eight steals against Marshall, tied for the most by a C-USA player this season and
the most by a Lady Topper since Kendall Noble’s school-record 10 at North Texas on
Feb. 5, 2015.
– Despite having her streak of 38 consecutive made free throws snapped against Ball
State, Dee Givens has enjoyed a strong season from the charity stripe. Givens’ .865
(96-of-111) percentage ranks seventh in the nation among all Division I players who
have attempted at least 100 free throws this season.
– Under Greg Collins, WKU has featured a revamped, fast-paced offensive attack this
season and is averaging 74.9 points per game through 25 contests. Should WKU average
at least 75 points per game this season, the Lady Toppers will have hit that mark in
four of the five most recent seasons after previously not doing so since 2004-05.
– WKU has been efficient at forcing turnovers this season, forcing its opponents
into an average of 18.1 giveaways per game. The Lady Toppers have forced
double-digit turnovers in 77 straight games dating back to a Jan. 7, 2017, contest
at Old Dominion.
– Through 25 games, Raneem Elgedawy and Meral Abdelgawad have combined to score 655
of WKU’s 1,872 points, just over a third of the team’s total. In addition to their
scoring, the duo has combined for 263 rebounds, also just under a third of the
team’s total of 799.
– Despite its rally falling just short at Oklahoma on Nov. 10, WKU scored its most
points in a single quarter since moving to the system in 2015-16, netting 35 points
in the fourth frame against the Sooners. The 35 points were WKU’s most since setting
the previous record of 33 points in the fourth quarter against Dayton in the WNIT on
March 17, 2016.
– The Lady Toppers were picked fourth in the preseason C-USA coaches’ poll, but have
met or exceeded their expectations in each of the last two years. In 2016-17, WKU
won the tournament title after being picked first, and repeated as champions in
2017-18 after a second-place pick.
– WKU put together an 11-1 record inside Diddle Arena last season and has posted an
82-18 record inside the friendly confines of its home arena since Greg Collins has
been with the program in 2012-13. The Lady Toppers will have one more home game this
season when they host Middle Tennessee on March 7.
– WKU enters the 2018-19 season having had only five international letterwinners in
program history, including sophomore Raneem Elgedawy. This year, the Lady Toppers
will sport three international student-athletes on the roster, with Arame Niang and
Meral Abdelgawad joining Elgedawy on The Hill.
– In its four seasons as a C-USA member, WKU has claimed a pair of regular season
titles and has won the conference tournament three times, including back-to-back
wins in both 2017 and 2018. WKU is only the second school in C-USA history to claim
back-to-back tournament titles as a league member, joining former member Tulane, who
won three straight from 1999-2001.
– In each of Greg Collins’ six previous years on WKU’s bench, the Lady Toppers have
had 20 or more victories, with the team looking to extend that streak in 2018-19.
WKU’s current streak of six 20-win seasons is its second-longest in program history,
trailing only seven straight from 1982-83 to 1988-89 during the Paul Sanderford era.
In WKU’s modern era (since 1973-74), five of the 10 head coaches have captured
20-win seasons in their debut years on The Hill, most recently with Michelle
Clark-Heard’s 22 wins in 2012-13.
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