BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A winner in all four games of its recent homestand, WKU will
take its show on the road for the first time in conference play on Thursday,
squaring off against FIU in a late-morning 10 a.m. (CT) tipoff inside Ocean Bank
Convocation Center. The Lady Toppers enter Thursday’s game with a perfect 5-0 record
against the Panthers since joining C-USA prior to the 2014-15 season.
WKU battled back from a first-quarter deficit against Marshall in its last time out
last Saturday, storming past the Thundering Herd by outscoring them 48-19 in the
second and fourth quarters. Dee Givens and Sherry Porter led the way for the Lady
Toppers with 20 points apiece.
WKU’s all-time series against FIU dates back to the 1998-99 season when the two were
both members of the Sun Belt. The two met at least twice per season until the
2012-13 campaign before renewing the rivalry upon WKU’s entry into C-USA two years
All 10 players that have seen action for FIU this season are averaging at least 10
minutes per contest, with Chelsea Guimaraes leading the Panthers at 10 points per
game. Ce’Nara Skanes is the team’s leading rebounder at a 7.1 per game clip, and
Bre’Osha Scott (51) and Paula Orenes (47) are the team’s leaders in assists this
WKU will continue its first C-USA road trip of the season on Saturday afternoon at 1
p.m. (CT) at Florida Atlantic as the Lady Toppers seek their ninth straight win over
GAME #18 / C-USA GAME #4 – WKU VS. FIU
WKU (9-8, 3-0 C-USA) vs. FIU (3-14, 0-4 C-USA)
January 17, 2019 | 10:00 a.m. (CT)
Miami, Fla. | Ocean Bank Convocation Center (5,000)
– With its win last Saturday over Marshall, WKU extended its school record for
consecutive conference victories inside Diddle Arena. The decision over the
Thundering Herd was the Lady Toppers’ 22nd straight C-USA home win dating back to
Feb. 25, 2016, topping the previous record of 19 straight wins in the Sun Belt from
Jan. 9, 1991, to Feb. 20, 1994.
– With 10 three-pointers against both Old Dominion and Marshall, WKU accomplished a
feat that had never before been done in the storied history of the program: knocking
down double-digit three-pointers in back-to-back games. Since entering C-USA play,
WKU has been extremely sharp from beyond the arc, knocking down 26 of its 51 triples
(51 percent) across the last three contests.
– WKU has captured 26 road victories in C-USA play since joining the conference in
2014-15 and has unquestionably been one of the toughest teams to face both at home
and away. WKU’s 26 road wins are more than all but Middle Tennessee (29) and
Charlotte (26) have won on their own home courts against other C-USA opponents over
the last five years.
– Among the 23 first-time Division I head coaches this season, Greg Collins
currently ranks sixth with his nine victories. 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 76.6 per game clip.
– Sherry Porter has enjoyed a strong sophomore season, averaging seven points per
game and starting all but four games. However, her star has shined even brighter
since conference play began, including her career-best 20-point performance against
Marshall. In C-USA play, Porter is averaging 12 points per game and owns the best
assist-turnover ratio in the conference, with 12 assists to only two giveaways.
– Over its first five seasons as a member of Conference USA, WKU owns a 62-11 mark
against the rest of the league since joining and posted a 12-4 record last season.
– Meral Abdelgawad captured her second straight C-USA Freshman of the Week honor on
Jan. 7 after a 22-point outing against Old Dominion. Over her last three games,
Abdelgawad is averaging 18.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals while shooting 65.5
percent from the floor; she became the first C-USA player to win back-to-back
outright Freshman of the Week awards in more than two years with the honor.
Abdelgawad is also the first WKU true freshman with multiple 20-point games in a
single season since Alexis Govan during the 2011-12 campaign.
– Legendary Lady Topper Basketball head coach Paul Sanderford was named one of 12
finalists for the 2019 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on Jan. 10. Sanderford won
365 games and reached three Final Fours in 15 seasons at the helm of the Lady
– WKU has enjoyed one of its best shooting seasons in recent memory and has hit the
50 percent mark from the floor in nine games already this season. The Lady Toppers
shot 50 percent or better only six times in the previous two seasons combined and
have not had more games over 50 percent since 2014-15, when they also hit the mark
nine times. Since Greg Collins has been on The Hill in 2012-13, WKU is 33-3 when
shooting 50 percent or better.
– This season, WKU’s defense has limited its opponents to fewer than 70 points on
eight occasions, coming away with a win in all eight games. Over the last three
seasons dating back to 2016-17, the Lady Toppers have posted a 51-3 record when
holding their opponents under 70 points, including a perfect 32-0 mark when limiting
them to fewer than 60 points.
– Through 17 games, WKU ranks 13th in the nation in most free throws made, knocking
down 252 shots from the charity stripe. The Lady Toppers have made 10 more free
throws than the next closest C-USA squad (Louisiana Tech) and are making an average
of 14.8 free throws per contest. For the year, WKU is just shy of making more free
throws than its opponents have attempted, with the opposition combining for 266
– Dee Givens has 54 total steals, an average of 3.2 per game, this season, a number
that ranks ninth among all qualifying Division I players. Givens’ 54 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’ .885
(69-of-78) percentage ranks fourth in the nation among all Division I players who
have attempted at least 70 free throws this season.
– WKU moved one step closer to the 1,000-win plateau with its victory against
Marshall on Jan. 12. The Lady Toppers now sit just seven wins shy of becoming the
10th program in Division I history to reach that mark.
– Under Greg Collins, WKU has featured a revamped, fast-paced offensive attack this
season and is averaging 76.6 points per game through 16 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 17.8 giveaways per game. The Lady Toppers have forced
double-digit turnovers in 69 straight games dating back to a Jan. 7, 2017, contest
at Old Dominion.
– Through 17 games, Raneem Elgedawy and Meral Abdelgawad have combined to score 429
of WKU’s 1,302 points, just under a third of the team’s total. In addition to their
scoring, the duo has combined for 176 rebounds, also just under a third of the
team’s total of 560.
– 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
81-15 record inside the friendly confines of its home arena since Greg Collins has
been with the program in 2012-13. The Lady Toppers are currently on a four-game home
winning streak dating back to their win over Union on Dec. 29.
– 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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