BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – With two double-digit wins on its first road trip of C-USA
play, WKU will return to the friendly confines of E.A. Diddle Arena at 6 p.m. on
Thursday evening as the Lady Toppers play host to Southern Miss. Last season, the
two teams split the season series, with each winning on their home court; the Lady
Eagles claimed the most recent meeting, 69-63, in Hattiesburg.
Last week, WKU powered past FIU and Florida Atlantic on its first Florida swing
since 2015-16, downing both opponents by double digits. The Lady Toppers have won
all five of their C-USA matchups by double digits so far this season, winning by an
average of 21.2 points.
Southern Miss is one of only two C-USA teams, alongside UTEP, to defeat WKU inside
Diddle Arena since 2014-15. The Lady Eagles earned a 63-61 win on the Lady Toppers’
home court on Jan. 31, 2015; since that setback, WKU is 33-1 in home conference
Megan Brown is the lone Lady Eagle scoring in double figures this season at a 10.0
per game clip. Preseason All-C-USA selection Shonte Hailes sits just behind at 9.4
points per game and has dished out a team-best 79 assists, but also leads Southern
Miss with 50 turnovers. Kelsey Jones leads the Lady Eagles with 5.2 rebounds per
WKU will face a quick turnaround and be right back in action on Saturday afternoon
at 2 p.m. as Louisiana Tech makes the trip north to Diddle Arena.
GAME #20 / C-USA GAME #6 – WKU VS. SOUTHERN MISS
WKU (11-8, 5-0 C-USA) vs. Southern Miss (9-10, 1-5 C-USA)
January 24, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. | E.A. Diddle Arena (7,523)
– WKU enters Thursday’s bout with a school record for consecutive conference
victories inside Diddle Arena. The decision over Marshall on Jan. 12 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,
– Raneem Elgedawy was named the C-USA Player of the Week for the first time and also
earned a spot in the NCAA Weekly Starting Five after averaging 26.5 points and 12.5
rebounds last week. Elgedawy is just the fourth Lady Topper ever to earn a Weekly
Starting Five nod, joining Chastity Gooch, Kendall Noble and Tashia Brown.
– Raneem Elgedawy and Meral Abdelgawad claimed a sweep of the C-USA weekly awards on
Monday, with Elgedawy winning her first Player of the Week honor and Abdelgawad
being named Co-Freshman of the Week. Elgedawy and Abdelgawad’s sweep marks the first
time that Lady Toppers have won both awards in the same week since Tashia Brown and
Elgedawy accomplished the feat on Dec. 18, 2017.
– Among the 23 first-time Division I head coaches this season, Greg Collins is
currently tied for second with his 11 victories, trailing only Minnesota’s Lindsay
Whalen with 13 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 77.7
per game clip.
– Thursday’s game is a rematch of both the 2015 and 2017 C-USA Tournament
championship games. In 2015, WKU earned a thrilling 60-57 win over the Lady Eagles,
and two years later the Lady Toppers won their second C-USA Tournament title with a
67-56 victory. Southern Miss is also one of only two C-USA programs, alongside UTEP,
to earn a C-USA win inside Diddle Arena.
– 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
have shot 50 percent or better in six straight games, its longest such streak since
at least the 1999-2000 campaign. Since Greg Collins has been on The Hill in 2012-13,
WKU is 35-3 when shooting 50 percent or better.
– At FIU on Jan. 17, Dee Givens (31) and Raneem Elgedawy (28) both scored
career-highs in points and paired to score 59 of WKU’s 94 points against the
Panthers. Givens and Elgedawy’s 59 combined points were the most by any Lady Topper
duo in a single game since Crystal Kelly (38) and current assistant coach Tiffany
Porter-Talbert (21) also had 59 against Charlotte on Nov. 22, 2005.
– Through 19 games, both the single-season makes and percentage record in school
history are potentially in sight for the Lady Toppers. WKU has knocked down 137
triples this season and is chasing the record of 242 set in 2016-17, while the Lady
Toppers are shooting 38.8 percent (137-of-353) from beyond the arc, a mark that
would rank third in program history.
– Since joining C-USA prior to the 2014-15 campaign, WKU has earned 28 road
victories in conference play. That number tops victory totals for all but one C-USA
program (Middle Tennessee, 29) on their own home courts over the same span.
– Sherry Porter has enjoyed a strong sophomore season, averaging 6.7 points per game
and starting all but six 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 8.8 points per game and owns the
second-best assist-turnover ratio in the conference, with 15 assists to only four
– Over its first five seasons as a member of Conference USA, WKU owns a 64-11 mark
against the rest of the league since joining and posted a 12-4 record last season.
– 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
– This season, WKU’s defense has limited its opponents to fewer than 70 points on
nine occasions, coming away with a win in all nine games. Over the last three
seasons dating back to 2016-17, the Lady Toppers have posted a 52-3 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 56 total steals, an average of 2.9 per game, this season, a number
that ranks 26th among all qualifying Division I players. Givens’ 56 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’ .866
(71-of-82) percentage ranks eighth in the nation among all Division I players who
have attempted at least 80 free throws this season.
– WKU moved one step closer to the 1,000-win plateau with its victory at Florida
Atlantic on Jan. 19. The Lady Toppers now sit just five 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 77.7 points per game through 19 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 17.6 giveaways per game. The Lady Toppers have forced
double-digit turnovers in 71 straight games dating back to a Jan. 7, 2017, contest
at Old Dominion.
– Through 19 games, Raneem Elgedawy and Meral Abdelgawad have combined to score 506
of WKU’s 1,477 points, just over a third of the team’s total. In addition to their
scoring, the duo has combined for 203 rebounds, also just under a third of the
team’s total of 635.
– 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.
Listen: 102.7FM, 1450AM in Bowling Green (Brett Williams, pxp; John Butler, analysis)