BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU will conclude its pre-holiday schedule on Wednesday evening
at 6 p.m. (CT) as the Lady Toppers make the long trek north to square off against
No. 2/2 Notre Dame for the second straight season. Last year, WKU hung tight with
the Fighting Irish for much of the game inside E.A. Diddle Arena before falling,
78-65, against the eventual national champions.
In WKU’s last time out, the Lady Toppers twice overcame eight-point deficits and
nearly came from nine points down with a minute to play against Ball State on Sunday
evening, but the comeback fell just short in the 86-83 setback inside Diddle.
The Lady Toppers’ offense was clicking against the Cardinals, hitting the 80-point
mark for the eighth time in 12 outings. WKU also shot above 50 percent from the
floor for the second straight game, knocking down 29 of their 56 chances (.518) on
Notre Dame comes into Wednesday’s bout having fallen only once this season, an 89-71
loss to Connecticut on Dec. 3. Arike Ogunbowale leads five Fighting Irish players in
double figures for scoring at a 22.9 clip, while Jessica Shepard pulls down a
team-best 9.3 boards per game. Jackie Young leads Notre Dame this season with 50
total assists across 10 games.
WKU will head into its holiday break following Wednesday’s game and will return to
the court next Saturday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. inside Diddle to face Division II foe
GAME #13 – WKU AT NO. 2/2 NOTRE DAME
WKU (5-7, 0-0 C-USA) at No. 2/2 Notre Dame (9-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coast)
December 19, 2018 | 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Notre Dame, Ind. | Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149)
– WKU currently leads the nation with 192 made free throws this season, an average
of 16 makes per game. The Lady Toppers have made nearly as many free throws as their
opponents have combined to attempt (211).
– With Notre Dame ranked No. 2 in the latest AP Poll, the Fighting Irish will be the
first top-two opponent that the Lady Toppers have faced since an 82-62 loss against
then-No. 1 Tennessee on March 16, 1998. WKU owns two wins against top-two teams in
school history, most recently knocking off then-No. 2 Tennessee, 75-70, in the NCAA
Tournament on March 26, 1992.
– 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’ .905
(57-of-63) percentage leads the nation among all Division I players who have
attempted at least 60 free throws this season.
– WKU moved one step closer to the 1,000-win plateau with its victory against
Bellarmine on Dec. 8. The Lady Toppers now sit just 11 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 78 points per game through 12 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.
– After winning C-USA Sixth Player of the Year last season, Dee Givens has stepped
up in a big way for the Lady Toppers, moving into the starting lineup and averaging
19.6 points through 12 games this season. The redshirt junior is averaging one point
every 92.7 seconds that she has been on the court, slightly faster than 2018 C-USA
Player of the Year Tashia Brown.
– WKU’s defense has pressured all 12 of its opponents into double-digit turnovers
thus far on the season. Through 12 games, the Lady Toppers have forced an average of
17.1 turnovers per game to open the 2018-19 season.
– Through 12 games, Raneem Elgedawy and Meral Abdelgawad have combined to score 285
of WKU’s 936 points, just under a third of the team’s total. In addition to their
scoring, the duo has combined for 131 rebounds, also just under a third of the
team’s total of 415.
– Through 12 games this season, WKU has significantly raised its three-point
shooting percentage from last season, knocking down 84 of its 229 (36.7 percent)
attempts thus far. Last season, the Lady Toppers were 34.8 percent from beyond the
arc. The current 36.7 percent mark would rank seventh in program history for a
single season, the highest since a 36.8 percent mark in 2002-03.
– 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.
– 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
77-15 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 three-game home winning
streak snapped on Sunday evening in an 86-83 setback against Ball State.
– 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.
– 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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