BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Making its second two-game road trip of the C-USA season, WKU
will look to accomplish something that it has not done since joining the league in
2014-15: earn a win at UTSA on its home court. The Lady Toppers are set to clash
with the Roadrunners inside the UTSA Convocation Center in a special 11 a.m.
Education Day tipoff on Thursday morning.
In its most recent outing, WKU knocked off Louisiana Tech, 81-76, after holding off
a spirited rally down the stretch by the Lady Techsters. WKU’s 21-point lead was cut
to just three late in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Toppers held on in the
closing seconds to claim the victory.
Thursday will present WKU with its third opportunity to earn a win at UTSA after
falling in 2015 and 2017 by a combined four points. The Roadrunners are the lone
C-USA team that WKU has not defeated at least once on the road since joining the
Marie Benson leads UTSA in both scoring (16.0) and rebounding (10.9) this season and
is one of only two C-USA players, alongside Rice’s Erica Ogwumike, averaging a
double-double. Tija Hawkins also scores in double figures for the Roadrunners at a
12.1 per game clip, and Karrington Donald (58) and Kourtney Kekec (56) lead the
squad in total assists.
WKU will head even further west following Thursday’s bout as the Lady Toppers trek
to UTEP on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. (CT) to take on the Miners.
GAME #22 / C-USA GAME #8 – WKU AT UTSA
WKU (12-9, 6-1 C-USA) at UTSA (6-13, 1-6 C-USA)
January 31, 2019 | 11:00 a.m. (CT)
San Antonio, Texas | UTSA Convocation Center (2,650)
– WKU will be seeking its first-ever win at UTSA on Thursday. In 2014-15, the
Roadrunners knocked off the Lady Toppers, 64-63, inside the Convocation Center, and
UTSA followed that by edging WKU again, 80-77, during the 2016-17 campaign.
– The Lady Toppers are the lone C-USA team with two players in the top five in
scoring heading into Thursday’s contest. Dee Givens averages 18.5 points per game
and ranks third, while Raneem Elgedawy is fifth in the rankings, scoring 16.4 points
– WKU will look to reverse its trend on the west Texas road trip since joining C-USA
with this week’s trips to UTSA and UTEP. In five road games against the Roadrunners
and Miners, the Lady Toppers are just 2-3 overall, including an 80-75 setback in El
Paso in last season’s regular season finale that cost WKU a share of the C-USA
regular season championship.
– Among the 23 first-time Division I head coaches this season, Greg Collins is
currently tied for second with his 12 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 76.9
per game clip.
– 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 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 21 games, both the single-season makes and percentage record in school
history are potentially in sight for the Lady Toppers. WKU has knocked down 145
triples this season and is chasing the record of 242 set in 2016-17, while the Lady
Toppers are shooting 37.4 percent (145-of-388) from beyond the arc, a mark that
would rank fifth 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 6.8 points per game
and starting all but seven 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 8.6 points per game and owns the
league’s second-best assist-turnover ratio, with 21 assists to only eight giveaways.
– Over its first five seasons as a member of Conference USA, WKU owns a 65-11 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 10
occasions, coming away with a win in all but one of those games. Over the last three
seasons dating back to 2016-17, the Lady Toppers have posted a 52-4 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 60 total steals, an average of 2.9 per game, this season, a number
that ranks 14th among all qualifying Division I players. Givens’ 60 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’ .872
(83-of-94) percentage ranks sixth in the nation among all Division I players who
have attempted at least 90 free throws this season.
– WKU moved one step closer to the 1,000-win plateau with its victory against
Louisiana Tech on Jan. 26. The Lady Toppers now sit just four 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 76.9 points per game through 21 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 73 straight games dating back to a Jan. 7, 2017, contest
at Old Dominion.
– Through 21 games, Raneem Elgedawy and Meral Abdelgawad have combined to score 560
of WKU’s 1,614 points, just over a third of the team’s total. In addition to their
scoring, the duo has combined for 227 rebounds, also just under a third of the
team’s total of 695.
– 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
82-16 record inside the friendly confines of its home arena since Greg Collins has
been with the program in 2012-13. The Lady Toppers started a new winning streak in
their 81-76 win over Louisiana Tech on Jan. 26.
– 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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