BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU is set to open its 2016-17 regular season campaign against Alabama A&M inside Diddle Arena on Friday evening at 7 p.m. The Lady Toppers and Lady Bulldogs have met just once, a 96-44 WKU win in 2014-15.
Under Michelle Clark-Heard, the Lady Toppers are a perfect 4-0 in home openers and are 3-1 in season openers overall. In last season’s home opener, WKU pulled a 71-69 upset against then-No. 16 Louisville on Nov. 21 as then-freshman Kayla Smith sank the go-ahead basket with just over 30 seconds remaining.
The Lady Toppers return their top six scorers from a season ago and will have redshirt senior Micah Jones back on the court after she missed all but two games due to injury in 2015-16. WKU also adds three new in-state freshmen to the mix in Whitney Creech, Malaka Frank and Sarah Price, all of whom are coming off stellar high school careers.
In their lone exhibition of the year, WKU downed Young Harris, 98-51, inside Diddle Arena last Thursday evening. Jaycee Coe led all scorers with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range, and she was joined in double figures by Ivy Brown (18), Tashia Brown (15), Smith (15) and Dee Givens (12).
Alabama A&M is led by former WKU assistant coach Margaret Richards (2013-15) in her first season with the program. The Lady Bulldogs lost their top four scorers from last season, including top scorer and rebounder Janie Myles (14.4 points, 8.6 boards). Nashaye Sutton is the top returning scorer for Alabama A&M after tallying 6.9 points a season ago, while Shakira Logan is back after pulling down 3.5 rebounds per contest.
Following Friday’s matchup, WKU will remain at home for the second matchup of its three-game homestand, taking on UT Arlington on Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. The Lady Toppers downed the Mavericks on the road last year in a 73-64 victory
GAME #1 – WKU VS. ALABAMA A&M
WKU (0-0, 0-0 C-USA) vs. Alabama A&M (0-0, 0-0 SWAC)
November 11, 2016 | 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. | E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
WKU Game Notes
– WKU sports a 33-10 record in season openers in modern program history (1973-present) and is 7-3 in such games over the last 10 seasons. In home openers, the Lady Toppers are 37-6 in modern program history and have won four consecutive games in that category.
– WKU play-by-play announcer Barry Williams will be calling his 1,000th game with the Lady Toppers on Friday evening. Williams stands as one of the most veteran radio broadcasters in the nation and calls all home and away games for the Lady Toppers.
– In non-conference play under Clark-Heard, WKU owns a 46-15 record (.754) 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.
– 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.
– Over its first two seasons as a member of Conference USA, WKU has established itself as a formidable opponent against the league’s 13 other teams. The Lady Toppers own a 31-5 mark against the rest of the league since joining and posted a 15-3 record last season.
– By winning all eight of the contests in which it hit 80 points last season, WKU also extended an impressive streak under Clark-Heard. The Lady Toppers have posted an undefeated 39-0 mark when scoring 80 or more since the 2012-13 season.
– WKU finished the 2015-16 season with a 14-1 mark at home and has posted a 49-10 record inside the friendly confines of its home arena since Clark-Heard took over the program in 2012-13.
Listen: 102.7 FM, 1450AM in Bowling Green (Barry Williams, pxp; Laurie Idlett, analysis)
Watch: WKUSports.tv ($$)
Live Stats: WKUSports.com
– FREE PARKING FOR ALL FANS
– WKU Faculty/Staff Night: Faculty/Staff receive four complimentary reserved seat tickets for the game at the WKU box office in Diddle Arena prior to game day. Must show valid WKU ID. Buy additional tickets in advance by calling the WKU ticket office at 745-5222. Offer not valid on game day.
– Military Appreciation Day: All military personnel and veterans show your military ID and receive complimentary admission. All friends and family can receive reduced price reserved tickets for just $5.
– Mister B’s Pizza Deal: Purchase two tickets to the game for ONLY $15 and receive a coupon for a FREE small pizza from Mr. B’s. Offer valid online and at the Diddle Box Office (while supplies last).
WKU Ticket Office: online at WKUSports.com, in person at E.A. Diddle Arena, via phone at 1-800-5-BIG Red or 745-5222 locally
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.