BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – For the first time in the 2018-19 season, WKU is set to go on
the road to battle with Oklahoma on Friday evening at 7 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble
Center. The Lady Toppers and Sooners will be meeting for just the second time in
program history and first since back in the 1985-86 campaign.
Friday’s matchup will be carried on Fox Sports Southwest and the Sooner Sports
Network, with a free live WKU radio stream also available on C-USA TV.
In its last time out, WKU battled back from a 34-point deficit against one of the
top teams in the nation, falling 102-80 against No. 5/4 Louisville on Tuesday
evening. Four Lady Toppers reached double figures, led by Alexis Brewer in her debut
(22) and Dee Givens (18).
Two newcomers, Brewer and freshman Meral Abdelgawad, drew the start against the
Cardinals on Tuesday. With Abdelgawad’s start, WKU has now started a true freshman
in its season opener in four of the last five seasons.
Picked fourth in the preseason C-USA coaches’ poll behind UAB, Rice and Middle
Tennessee, WKU graduated two of its all-time great players in Tashia and Ivy Brown
following last year, but also returns the 2018 C-USA Freshman and Sixth Player of
the Year, with Raneem Elgedawy and Dee Givens set for key roles in 2018-19.
After Friday’s game, WKU will come right back home for another tough battle against
No. 13/17 Iowa and preseason All-American Megan Gustafson on Tuesday evening at 6
GAME #2 – WKU AT OKLAHOMA
WKU (0-1, 0-0 C-USA) at Oklahoma (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
November 9, 2018 | 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center (11,562)
– Against Louisville, WKU was able to consistently drive and draw contact to put
itself on the free throw line throughout the contest, finishing with a 26-of-35 mark
from the charity stripe. Last season, WKU attempted 35 free throws just once,
against Mercer on Nov. 24, 2017, and the 26 makes were its most since also making 29
– Trailing by 34 points entering the fourth quarter on Tuesday, WKU outscored
Louisville, 29-17, over the final 10 minutes of play. The 29 points were the Lady
Toppers’ most in the fourth quarter since also scoring 29 against Marshall on Jan.
– Since Greg Collins has been on staff, the Lady Toppers have battled 12 ranked
opponents, coming away with a victory over one in each of the last three seasons.
Tuesday’s game marked the fifth time that WKU has faced a ranked Louisville squad
since 2013-14, with the four previous meetings being decided by an average of only
– In WKU’s exhibition matchup against West Virginia State, the Lady Toppers pushed
the tempo with a run-and-gun style offense, racking up 57 first-half points and
outscoring the Yellow Jackets, 32-13, in the fast-break category. Perhaps most
impressively, WKU’s average time of possession in the contest was just 12 seconds as
the Lady Toppers were able to execute their gameplan nearly to perfection.
– Against West Virginia State, WKU shot 50 percent or better from the floor in all
four quarters, finishing the game with a stellar 60.6 percent (40-of-66) mark. Among
players who attempted at least five shots, five of seven players knocked down better
than half of their attempts against the Yellow Jackets.
– WKU moved the ball extremely well in its exhibition tilt, finishing with 29
assists on 40 made baskets, with five different players recording at least four
assists apiece. Had the 29 assists counted for WKU’s records, the total would have
been tied for seventh in a single game in school history and would have been the
Lady Toppers’ most in a game since having 37 against Lamar on Jan. 11, 1997.
– Following the departure of Jevin Redman, new play-by-play man Brett Williams is
set to call his first regular season road game for WKU on Friday evening. A graduate
of the University of South Carolina, Williams joins the Lady Toppers from Queens
University in Charlotte, N.C., and brings extensive broadcasting experience at the
– 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.
– To start the regular season, WKU is projected to play three preseason top-15 teams
in its first six games, battling against No. 5 Louisville, No. 13 Iowa and No. 8
Oregon State. Central Michigan is also receiving votes in the preseason AP poll.
– Over its first four seasons as a member of Conference USA, WKU owns a 59-11 mark
against the rest of the league since joining and posted a 12-4 record last season.
– WKU put together an 11-1 record inside Diddle Arena last season and has posted a
74-13 record inside the friendly confines of its home arena since Greg Collins has
been with the program in 2012-13. The Lady Toppers had their 11-game winning streak
snapped on Tuesday evening’s setback against Louisville inside Diddle.
– For the first time since the 2010-11 season, WKU will welcome two Power 5 programs
to E.A. Diddle Arena. That season, the Lady Toppers hosted Northwestern and Texas
Tech, and this year both Louisville and Iowa will make the trip to Bowling Green.
– 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.
– Since becoming a member of C-USA prior to the 2014-15 campaign, WKU has posted a
33-2 record against conference foes inside Diddle Arena, never losing more than one
game in a single season. The Lady Toppers currently own a 19-game home winning
streak in conference play dating all the way back to a 62-51 win over Middle
Tennessee on Feb. 25, 2016.
– 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.
– Among its returning players, WKU was 109-of-317 (34.4 percent) from beyond the arc
last season, a number that would sit just outside the top 10 single-season
percentages in school history. In addition, the Lady Toppers will add Alexis Brewer
into the mix. A dangerous sharpshooting threat, Brewer was 58-of-143 (40.6 percent)
in two seasons at West Virginia, ranking second in the Big 12 in percentage as a
sophomore in 2016-17.
– WKU sits only 16 wins shy of a huge milestone in program history, entering the
2018-19 season with 984 wins. In the history of Division I women’s basketball, only
nine programs have collected 1,000 total wins. WKU (984), Green Bay (983), Maryland
(972), South Dakota State (967) and Notre Dame (964) are all within striking
distance of joining that exclusive club this season.
– One of the top three-point shooters in program history, Sidnee Bopp heads into her
senior season on The Hill with a career 40.1 percent (81-of-202) mark from beyond
the arc and has shot better than 40 percent in each of the last two years. Bopp’s
career percentage ranks fourth in WKU history, and the Marmaduke, Ark., native will
be chasing Kim Pehlke’s program record of 41.6 percent (209-of-502) this year.
– With the release of the preseason AP poll on Oct. 31, WKU appears slated to play
at least three ranked opponents in its first six outings this season, with a fourth
(Central Michigan) receiving votes in the poll. Should WKU face three ranked
opponents, it would mark the second time in the last three seasons that the Lady
Toppers have done so. In 2016-17, WKU battled Indiana (#23), DePaul (#18) and
Louisville (#8) in the regular season before drawing Ohio State (#11) in the NCAA
– 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.
Listen: 102.7FM, 1450AM in Bowling Green (Brett Williams, pxp)
Television: Fox Sports Southwest, Sooner Sports Network