BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU is set to compete in one of the premier in-season tournaments in the nation this weekend, traveling to Estero, Fla., as one of eight participants in the 2016 Gulf Coast Showcase. The field features five NCAA Tournament teams from one year ago, including national runner-up Syracuse.
The Lady Toppers will open the tournament on Friday at 12:30 p.m. (CT) against DePaul and will then face either Baylor or Kent State at 11 a.m. or 5 p.m. (CT) on Saturday. Sunday’s opponent and game time is contingent upon WKU’s results in the first two contests, but potential opponents include Syracuse, Ohio State, Florida Gulf Coast and George Washington.
Tashia Brown, the reigning C-USA Player of the Week, tallied 28 points to lead WKU to an 85-74 victory over then-No. 23 Indiana in its last time out last Saturday afternoon. With a victory over DePaul, WKU would have a winning streak over ranked teams in consecutive games for just the third time in program history.
WKU last met DePaul on Feb. 8, 1994, in what would be a 69-63 victory for the Lady Toppers. Overall, WKU leads the all-time series against the Blue Demons 3-1, with the lone loss coming in the first meeting between the two sides (73-63) on March 14, 1990.
DePaul enters Friday’s matchup with a perfect 3-0 record and wins over Appalachian State, UAB and Northwestern. Jessica January leads the Blue Demons with 21.3 points per game and is joined in double figures by Ashton Millender (17.7). Jacqui Grant is the team’s leading rebounder at 9.7 boards per game, and January also paces the team with 6.7 assists per outing. The high-scoring Blue Demon offense averages 92.7 points per game, and 107 of DePaul’s 217 field goal attempts on the season (49.3 percent) have come from beyond the arc.
Following the Gulf Coast Showcase, WKU will remain on the road for its next three contests, the first of which will come at Eastern Kentucky next Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 4:30 p.m. (CT). The Lady Toppers defeated EKU 76-60 inside E.A. Diddle Arena last season and own a 28-7 edge in the all-time series against the in-state foe.
GAMES #4-6 – WKU AT THE 2016 GULF COAST SHOWCASE
RV/RV WKU (2-1, 0-0 C-USA) vs. No. 18/17 DePaul (3-0, 0-0 Big East) – Game #1
November 25, 2016 | 12:30 p.m. (CT)
Estero, Fla. | Germain Arena (7,186)
WKU Game Notes
– After scoring 96 points in the opener against Alabama A&M and 85 points in the win over Indiana, WKU now holds a perfect 41-0 record under Michelle Clark-Heard when scoring 80 or more points in a single game. The Lady Toppers are also 47-3 overall when holding opponents to 59 or fewer points.
– In non-conference play under Clark-Heard, WKU owns a 48-16 record (.750) dating back to the 2012-13 season and has dropped no more than four non-conference games in a single season over that same span.
– Junior Tashia Brown earned recognition from both C-USA and the NCAA following her 28-point outburst against Indiana. Brown tallied 15 points in the fourth quarter, setting a new program record for most points scored by a single player in one quarter. For her efforts, Brown was named the C-USA Player of the Week for the first time in her career and was also honored with a spot on the NCAA’s weekly Starting Five list.
– For the second consecutive year, WKU took down a top-25 team inside Diddle Arena with its win over Indiana. That victory marks the first time since the 1997-98 campaign that the Lady Toppers have defeated at least one ranked team in back-to-back seasons.
– Since Michelle Clark-Heard took over the program, WKU has posted a 41-10 record (.804) in games played prior to January 1, including a 19-7 mark (.731) in games played during the month of November.
– In games immediately following a loss since 2012-13, the Lady Toppers are 27-6 and have not suffered consecutive losses since Nov. 23 and 25, 2014 (at Mississippi State and Louisville).
– WKU held Alabama A&M to just 32 points in the season opener, the fewest points scored by a WKU opponent since UTRGV scored 32 on Jan. 15, 1998. The Lady Toppers also held the Lady Bulldogs to 13-of-52 (25 percent) shooting from the field on the evening.
– WKU limited the Lady Bulldogs to just three points in the second quarter, the fewest points surrendered by the Lady Toppers in a single quarter since the system was implemented at the beginning of last season.
– Already eighth in school history with 146 three-pointers, Micah Jones needs just 19 more to pass Renee Westmoreland (1990-93) for seventh place on the charts.
– With seven steals through three games this season, Kendall Noble has collected 281 takeaways for her career. The Hazard, Ky., native is just five steals shy of setting a new WKU program record and appears set to surpass Lady Topper legend Clemette Haskins at the top of the chart.
– Redshirt senior Kendall Noble was named the 2016-17 Preseason C-USA Player of the Year and both Noble and junior Tashia Brown were selected to the preseason All-C-USA team in a vote conducted by the league’s coaches. Noble is the third preseason player of the year for WKU in the last five seasons.
– For the first time under Clark-Heard, WKU has been picked to win the conference in the annual preseason poll. The Lady Toppers received six first-place votes and narrowly edged out both Middle Tennessee and Old Dominion for the top spot.
– Clark-Heard captured her 100th victory as the head coach of the Lady Toppers in a 69-58 victory at Louisiana Tech on March 5 last season, reaching the milestone in just her 130th game at the helm of the program. Only the legendary Paul Sanderford, WKU’s all-time winningest coach, reached the mark more quickly, doing so in his 127th game with the team.
– By winning her 100th game against Louisiana Tech last season, Clark-Heard also became just the 18th head coach in NCAA history to win 100 games in their first four years at the Division I level.
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Live Stats: Gulf Coast Showcase Statbroadcast
How to Follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Lady Topper Basketball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the program via social media @LadyTopperHoops on Twitter, @LadyTopperHoops on Instagram and on Facebook at facebook.com/WKUWomensBasketball.