BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Lady Topper Basketball head coach Michelle Clark-Heard, redshirt senior Kendall Noble and sophomore Kayla Smith represented WKU in its annual on-campus Media Day on Tuesday afternoon inside E.A. Diddle Arena’s Paul Just Media Center.
“Every year our goal is like everyone’s: to win a championship or get a chance at an at-large bid. We were very disappointed that we didn’t perform the way we needed to in the conference tournament, but I was really, really proud of how we bounced back and the team we became in the postseason WNIT. Hopefully, it’s a team we continue to be this season, just being competitive and understanding and knowing there are no days off,” Clark-Heard said in her interview on Tuesday.
The Lady Toppers will be guided by Clark-Heard in her fifth season with the program. The former WKU standout player has guided the team to 103 victories since taking the reins prior to the 2012-13 season, the most among C-USA programs. In addition, the Lady Toppers have reached the postseason following all four campaigns, including a trip to the WNIT Quarterfinals in 2015-16. For the first time under Clark-Heard, the Lady Toppers were picked to win C-USA in the preseason coaches’ poll announced earlier this month.
Led by the reigning C-USA Player and Defensive Player of the Year and preseason Player of the Year in Noble, the Lady Toppers will look to continue building on one of the most successful eras in program history in 2016-17. Over the last two seasons, WKU has posted an impressive 57-12 (.826) record, the second-highest win total over a two-year span in school history, trailing only the 1984-85 and 1985-86 Final Four teams.
“I think what makes Kendall special is that she doesn’t worry about those individual accolades, she never has. And when you talk to her you can tell she doesn’t like that attention, she’s all so much as a team player and that’s what I love about her, that’s what I love about coaching her,” Clark-Heard said of the Hazard, Ky., native.
WKU will open its 2016-17 campaign next Thursday evening, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. as the Lady Toppers host Young Harris College in an exhibition matchup inside Diddle Arena. The team will then open the regular season against Alabama A&M, coached by former WKU assistant Margaret Richards, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, also inside Diddle Arena.
Lady Topper Basketball holds a rich tradition as one of the traditional powerhouses in women’s college basketball. Ranked 10th in NCAA history with 933 victories, WKU has collected more wins in its 53-year history than perennially strong programs such as Notre Dame, North Carolina, Maryland and Baylor. In 2016-17, WKU will seek to return to the NCAA Tournament and collect the program’s first tournament victory since the 1999-00 campaign.
Season and single-game tickets are available for the 2016-17 season at WKUTickets.com or by phone at 1-800-5-BIGRED or 745-5222 locally. Season tickets begin at $40 for Lady Topper Basketball, and fans can also purchase the Big Red Family Plan with a four-pack of season tickets in the 200-level of Diddle Arena for only $25 each.
For more information on WKU Lady Topper Basketball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the team via social media @LadyTopperHoops on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook at facebook.com/WKUWomensBasketball.