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Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch has been named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List, released on Wednesday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The Naismith Women’s Trophy presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball player of the year.    WATCH LIST: http://www.naismithtrophy.com/2014-15-watch-list/naismith-trophy-womens-50-watch-list/    Gooch has enjoyed a strong start to her 2014-15 campaign, averaging 17.1 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per contest. Shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 78.4 percent from the free throw line, Gooch has already been named the Conference USA Player of the Week twice this season.    Gooch has continued to show that she is at her best against elite competition this season. Gooch posted 19.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest during the Preseason WNIT run by the Lady Toppers, converting on nearly 52 percent of her shots. Her most impressive performance came against Colorado, where she led the Lady Toppers with 30 points. She also piled up 10 steals, seven assists and six blocks during the tournament. The Lady Toppers advanced to the WNIT finals by beating Central Arkansas (93-57), Colorado (79-78 in overtime) and Albany (63-54).    Gooch was named to the All-Tournament team at the WNIT and was later named the Most Valuable Player at the Hofstra Thanksgiving Tournament after posting wins over RPI top 30 foe Tulane and Hofstra. Gooch also posted 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 40 minute effort at Louisville.    She now ranks in the top 10 in scoring at WKU after her strong start to the season.    Gooch averaged 18.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest for WKU last season, leading the team to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and WKU’s 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. She enjoyed one of the most productive seasons in WKU history, placing 10th on WKU’s single-season scoring record book and moving into the top 20 in career scoring and top 10 in both rebounds and blocks at WKU. Gooch, a two-time winner of the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year award, is the leading active career point scorer in Conference USA and was one of just four active players in the league with 1,000 career points or more entering the 2014-15 season.    Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, which have become the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Players of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boy’s and Girl’s high school basketball players and coaches of the year, high school scholar-athletes, basketball officials, student sections and overall contributors to the game. The Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.    The Lady Toppers return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 6:00 p.m. CT in Clarksville, Tenn., when WKU faces Austin Peay.

Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch has been named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List, released on Wednesday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The Naismith Women’s Trophy presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball player of the year. WATCH LIST: http://www.naismithtrophy.com/2014-15-watch-list/naismith-trophy-womens-50-watch-list/ Gooch has enjoyed a strong start to her 2014-15 campaign, averaging 17.1 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per contest. Shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 78.4 percent from the free throw line, Gooch has already been named the Conference USA Player of the Week twice this season. Gooch has continued to show that she is at her best against elite competition this season. Gooch posted 19.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest during the Preseason WNIT run by the Lady Toppers, converting on nearly 52 percent of her shots. Her most impressive performance came against Colorado, where she led the Lady Toppers with 30 points. She also piled up 10 steals, seven assists and six blocks during the tournament. The Lady Toppers advanced to the WNIT finals by beating Central Arkansas (93-57), Colorado (79-78 in overtime) and Albany (63-54). Gooch was named to the All-Tournament team at the WNIT and was later named the Most Valuable Player at the Hofstra Thanksgiving Tournament after posting wins over RPI top 30 foe Tulane and Hofstra. Gooch also posted 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 40 minute effort at Louisville. She now ranks in the top 10 in scoring at WKU after her strong start to the season. Gooch averaged 18.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest for WKU last season, leading the team to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and WKU’s 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. She enjoyed one of the most productive seasons in WKU history, placing 10th on WKU’s single-season scoring record book and moving into the top 20 in career scoring and top 10 in both rebounds and blocks at WKU. Gooch, a two-time winner of the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year award, is the leading active career point scorer in Conference USA and was one of just four active players in the league with 1,000 career points or more entering the 2014-15 season. Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, which have become the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Players of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boy’s and Girl’s high school basketball players and coaches of the year, high school scholar-athletes, basketball officials, student sections and overall contributors to the game. The Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983. The Lady Toppers return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 6:00 p.m. CT in Clarksville, Tenn., when WKU faces Austin Peay.

Posted on 10 December 2014 by Allen

Gooch

Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch has been named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List, released on Wednesday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The Naismith Women’s Trophy presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball player of the year.

Gooch has enjoyed a strong start to her 2014-15 campaign, averaging 17.1 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per contest. Shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 78.4 percent from the free throw line, Gooch has already been named the Conference USA Player of the Week twice this season.

Gooch has continued to show that she is at her best against elite competition this season. Gooch posted 19.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest during the Preseason WNIT run by the Lady Toppers, converting on nearly 52 percent of her shots. Her most impressive performance came against Colorado, where she led the Lady Toppers with 30 points. She also piled up 10 steals, seven assists and six blocks during the tournament. The Lady Toppers advanced to the WNIT finals by beating Central Arkansas (93-57), Colorado (79-78 in overtime) and Albany (63-54).

Gooch was named to the All-Tournament team at the WNIT and was later named the Most Valuable Player at the Hofstra Thanksgiving Tournament after posting wins over RPI top 30 foe Tulane and Hofstra. Gooch also posted 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 40 minute effort at Louisville.

She now ranks in the top 10 in scoring at WKU after her strong start to the season.

Gooch averaged 18.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest for WKU last season, leading the team to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and WKU’s 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. She enjoyed one of the most productive seasons in WKU history, placing 10th on WKU’s single-season scoring record book and moving into the top 20 in career scoring and top 10 in both rebounds and blocks at WKU. Gooch, a two-time winner of the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year award, is the leading active career point scorer in Conference USA and was one of just four active players in the league with 1,000 career points or more entering the 2014-15 season.

Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, which have become the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Players of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boy’s and Girl’s high school basketball players and coaches of the year, high school scholar-athletes, basketball officials, student sections and overall contributors to the game. The Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.

The Lady Toppers return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 6:00 p.m. CT in Clarksville, Tenn., when WKU faces Austin Peay.

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WKU rolls over Alabama State 94-53

WKU rolls over Alabama State 94-53

Posted on 07 December 2014 by Allen

Gooch

Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch entered WKU’s top 10 in career scoring as the Lady Toppers rolled to a 93-54 win over Alabama State on Saturday afternoon in E.A. Diddle Arena.

Gooch’s basket with 4:00 left in the first half gave her the 1,487th point in her career, tying her for 10th place on WKU’s all-time scoring list with Kim Pehlke. Gooch is less than 10 steals away from becoming the second player in program history to be in WKU’s top 10 in career points, rebounds, steals and blocks, joining Tanderia Green with the honor. Gooch finished the game with 12 points.

The victory for WKU (8-2) brought to an end a crazy schedule to start the season for the Lady Toppers that saw them play 10 games in the first 23 days of the season. Starting with the Nov. 14 game against Central Arkansas, WKU played 10 games with no more than two days off in between games. It included six games in the final 12 days of that period. The stretch included games against two Southeastern Conference schools and one team from both the Pac-12 Conference, American Athletic Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Lady Toppers used three runs of 9-0 or better in the first half to put together an 18-point lead at the break at 47-29, marking the fifth straight half in which WKU had scored at least 47 points.

After both teams started hot from the field in the opening five minutes as WKU led 12-9 after less than five minutes into the game, the WKU defense took over and limited the Hornets to just 28.1 percent shooting for the opening half at 9-of-32. WKU shot an impressive 17-of-32 for the opening half, including 6-of-9 from behind the three-point arc. The Hornets were aggressive though, posting an even 22-22 mark on the boards, resulting in 11 offensive rebounds and 13 second chance points for Alabama State through the first 20 minutes of play.

The Lady Toppers continued their torrid shooting in the second half, hitting 15-of-29 for 51.7 percent to finish the game at 52.5 percent. WKU forced 20 turnovers for the game, leading to 20 points and posted a 47-37 advantage on the boards after the tied battle at the half.

Senior Alexis Govan led WKU with 20 points for the game as she led four Lady Toppers in double figures, including sophomore Bria Gaines, who finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Alabama State (2-3) was the victim of WKU’s ninth straight victory in E.A. Diddle Arena, the longest streak for the Lady Toppers since a 12-game span in 2007-08 that spanned into the 2009-10 season.

The Lady Toppers return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 6:00 p.m. CT in Clarksville, Tenn., when WKU faces Austin Peay.

WKU returns home for their final game before the holiday break on Sunday, Dec. 21 to face Ball State. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. CT.

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WKU Rolls Over Alabama A&M for Largest Win Since 1998

WKU Rolls Over Alabama A&M for Largest Win Since 1998

Posted on 02 December 2014 by Allen

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WKU dominated the second half and coasted to its largest win since the 1997-98 season with a 96-44 win over Alabama A&M on Monday evening at E.A. Diddle Arena in the 32nd Annual BB&T Classic. The 52-point decision was its largest since a 113-47 win over Lamar on March 5, 1998 during the 1997-1998 season in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

The 44 points allowed by WKU were the third fewest in a game during the Michelle Clark-Heard era and the 9 points allowed in the second half were the second fewest in a half allowed by a Clark-Heard coached team at WKU. It was just the 35th game in Conference USA history to be decided by 52 points or more.

Freshman Tashia Brown had a career high 14 points for the Lady Toppers, coming off the bench to provide her best outing of the season. Senior Alexis Govan added a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds for the Lady Toppers, one of four to reach double figures in the game.

WKU (6-2) was hot early, hitting their first five shots in the opening 2:12 to jump out to a 10-0 lead. The streak extended as WKU was 14-of-16 to open the game from the field, including streaks of five and nine consecutive made shots in the opening 12 minutes.

After WKU jumped ahead 24-7 at the 12:20 mark following a basket by Tashia Brown, the Bulldogs gradually fought back to within six at 35-29 before WKU went on a 12-2 run to end the half and led 47-31 after a jumper by Micah Jones at the buzzer.

WKU’s 14-of-16 start from the field helped them to a 62.5 percent clip in the opening half at 20-of-32.

WKU opened the second half in similar fashion, opening with a 17-4 run, including eight straight WKU points by Tashia Brown to end the span as WKU’s lead ballooned to 30 points in the opening five minutes of the second half.

After Alabama A&M cut the game to six at 35-29, WKU closed the game on a 61-15 run. Alabama A&M (0-6) shot just 33.3 percent for the game and had one player in double figures as Brittney Strickland had 12 points.

WKU will returns to the court to host Ole Miss on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. CT in E.A. Diddle Arena. The game will be televised by the American Sports Network (ASN) with Leah Secondo (play-by-play) and Nate Ross (analyst) on the call.

The Lady Toppers will round out their current three-game homestand on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. against Alabama State.

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Gooch Named C-USA Player of the Week for Second Straight Week

Gooch Named C-USA Player of the Week for Second Straight Week

Posted on 02 December 2014 by Allen

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WKU senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch was named the co-Conference USA Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, it was announced by the league offices on Monday afternoon.

Last week, Gooch led WKU to the championship of the Hofstra Thanksgiving Tournament with a 21 point, nine rebound performance against Hofstra. It capped another strong week for the senior as she averaged 17.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, including a 20-point, 10 rebound performance at No. 12 Louisville. Gooch was named the Most Valuable Player of the Hofstra Thanksgiving Tournament as she continued to climb the WKU career scoring list. She is now in 11th place and needs 38 points to climb into 10th place on the list.

It is the second straight week that Gooch has earned the honor from Conference USA, the fifth time in the last two seasons she has been named a conference player of the week and the sixth time in her career.

WKU will face Alabama A&M on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. CT in E.A. Diddle Arena in the 32nd Annual BB&T Classic.

WKU will then host Ole Miss on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. CT in E.A. Diddle Arena. The game will be televised by the American Sports Network (ASN) with Leah Secondo (play-by-play) and Nate Ross (analyst) on the call.

The Lady Toppers will round out the three-game homestand on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. against Alabama State.

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Lady Toppers fall to Louisville

Lady Toppers fall to Louisville

Posted on 26 November 2014 by Allen

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Louisville senior Bria Smith recorded a triple-double as the Cardinals beat the cold-shooting WKU Lady Toppers 89-67 at the KFC Yum! Center on Tuesday night.

Bria Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while dishing out 10 assists for the Cardinals. Louisville (5-0) shot 52.1 percent for the game and held WKU to just 34.9% for the game, including a 27.6 percent clip in the first half. WKU (3-2) struggled on the defensive end, allowing 72 of Louisville’s 89 points to come in the paint in the game.

Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch scored 20 points, converting on 7-of-11 shots in the game, as she posted her third double-double of the season. Senior Alexis Govan also had her second consecutive 20-point game. WKU, whose 17 turnovers resulted in 23 Louisville points, were playing their fifth game in 10 days to start the season and third on the road.

RV/RV WKU returns to the floor on Friday when WKU faces Tulane (4-0) in the Hofstra Thanksgiving Tournament in Hempstead, New York. The Lady Toppers and the Green Wave tipoff at 1:00 p.m. CT on Friday. The team will then face either Hofstra or Northern Iowa on Saturday to conclude the tournament.

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Gooch Named C-USA Player of the Week

Gooch Named C-USA Player of the Week

Posted on 24 November 2014 by Allen

Gooch

Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch has been named the Conference USA Player of the Week after leading WKU to wins at Colorado and over Albany to reach the finals of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT, it was announced Monday by the league offices.

Gooch led WKU to the championship game of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT and earned All-Tournament honors after averaging 21.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in three contests last week. The senior and Preseason Conference USA Player of the Year shot 49.0 percent from the field and converted on 13-of-16 free throw attempts while grabbing eight steals and five blocks for the week. Gooch also reached the 1,400 mark in career points during the contest vs. Mississippi State, moving her into 15th place on WKU’s career scoring list.

The Lady Toppers’ appearance in the semifinals of the Preseason Women’s NIT gave WKU the best ever finish in the tournament by a team from Conference USA. Teams were previously 0-of-6 in the quarterfinals before WKU defeated Colorado 79-78 in overtime in Boulder, Colo., to advance to the semifinals. WKU was also the first program to reach the finals of the Preseason Women’s NIT from a mid-major conference since 2000 when Louisiana Tech beat Purdue 68-63 in the finals of the tournament.

Gooch averaged 18.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest for WKU last season, leading the team to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and WKU’s 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. She enjoyed one of the most productive seasons in WKU history, placing 10th on WKU’s single-season scoring record book and moving into the top 20 in career scoring and top 10 in both rebounds and blocks at WKU. Gooch, a two-time winner of the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year award, is the leading active career point scorer in Conference USA.

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Lady Toppers headed to NIT Title Game

Lady Toppers headed to NIT Title Game

Posted on 21 November 2014 by Allen

Gooch

WKU is heading to the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT Championship Game after posting a 63-54 win over Albany on Thursday night in E.A. Diddle Arena. It will be the first title game appearance for the Lady Toppers in their fourth all-time appearance in the tournament.

RV/RV WKU (3-0) got 14 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and six steals from redshirt sophomore Kendall Noble while senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch had 14 points and six rebounds to pace the Lady Toppers. RV/RV Albany (2-1), the three-time defending American East Conference champions, was forced into 33 turnovers by the Lady Toppers, resulting in 34 WKU points. WKU held Albany to just 31.8 percent shooting in the second half to aid in the victory.

WKU built an eight point lead in the opening minutes at 14-6 before the teams battled for the remainder of the half and eventually settled on a 32-31 halftime decision in favor of the Lady Toppers at the break. WKU shot 50.0 percent in the opening half while Albany converted on 56.0 percent of their tries. The inflated numbers from the field were assisted by a number of forced turnovers by both teams in the opening half as WKU forced 16 Albany turnovers and Albany forced 12 of the Lady Toppers.

WKU trailed 44-42 with 10:28 left following a free throw by the Great Danes before senior Alexis Govan nailed a three-point field goal to give WKU a 47-44 lead, turning momentum that had been gained by Albany. The Great Danes retook the lead briefly before WKU scored seven straight to break a 51-51 tie as Govan nailed another three while Noble and junior Jalynn McClain added baskets.

WKU will travel to Starkville, Miss., to face Mississippi State in the championship game of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2:00 p.m. CT. The championship game will air live nationally on CBS Sports Network. CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. Thad Anderson (play-by-play) and Curt Miller (analyst) will be calling the game. Miller spent 13 years as an NCAA DI head coach compiling an 290-124 overall record and earning six conference Coach of the Year awards. Anderson has called play-by-play for the WNIT since 2007 and currently calls games for ESPN, CBS Sports Network, and the Pac 12 Network.

The matchup with Mississippi State will be the second in the series as WKU beat the Bulldogs 56-53 in the 2007 Postseason Women’s NIT in E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Lady Toppers are making their fourth all-time appearance in the Preseason Women’s NIT and are now 9-3 all-time in the tournament as they make their first appearance since 2007. The team is unbeaten at home in Preseason WNIT play with a 6-0 record all-time.

Reaching the semifinals of the Preseason Women’s NIT is a good indicator of where a team will end up in the postseason. In 10 of the 20 years that Preseason Women’s NIT has been held, all four semifinalists have gone on to appear in the NCAA Tournament. That number balloons to 19-of-20 years when the Preseason WNIT semifinals has had at least 3-of-4 participants go on to play in the NCAA Tournament. Only one team, Arkansas in 1995, has reached the finals of the Preseason Women’s NIT and not reached the NCAA Tournament.

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Lady Toppers win in OT at Preseason NIT

Lady Toppers win in OT at Preseason NIT

Posted on 18 November 2014 by Allen

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WKU advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT with a 79-78 overtime win over Pac-12 foe Colorado on Tuesday night in overtime as senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch displayed why she is one of the nation’s best with a 30 point and 11 rebounds performance.

WKU overcame a four-point deficit to open the overtime period by hitting 7-of-12 free throws in the extra period and getting key baskets from Kendall Noble and Gooch. The Lady Toppers nearly won the game in overtime as Tashia Brown’s free throw with 33.7 seconds left gave WKU a one-point edge at 68-67. Colorado responded with a free throw by Jen Reese with 19.3 left before Tashia Brown’s shot near the buzzer was unsuccessful. RV/RV WKU (2-0) forced 24 Colorado in the game that helped the Lady Toppers overcome 35.1 percent shooting in the contest.

Gooch helped WKU get off to a quick start, hitting two threes in the opening minutes to set the tone. Gooch scored 19 of her game high 30 points in the second half, continuing a trend of posting big performances in big games. Gooch averaged 22.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in two games against teams ranked in the Associated Press’ top five in 2013-14.

The Lady Toppers will return to the floor on Thursday, Nov. 20 against Albany in the semifinals of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT in E.A. Diddle Arena. The Lady Toppers are making their fourth all-time appearance in the Preseason Women’s NIT and are now 8-3 all-time in the tournament as they make their first appearance since 2007. WKU will now make the school’s second appearance in the Preseason Women’s NIT semifinals.

Reaching the semifinals of the Preseason Women’s NIT is a good indicator of where a team will end up in the postseason. In 10 of the 20 years that Preseason Women’s NIT has been held, all four semifinalists have gone on to appear in the NCAA Tournament. That number balloons to 19-of-20 years when the Preseason WNIT semifinals has had at least 3-of-4 participants go on to play in the NCAA Tournament.

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Lady Toppers announce 2015-16 Recruiting Class

Lady Toppers announce 2015-16 Recruiting Class

Posted on 13 November 2014 by Allen

WKU

WKU head coach Michelle Clark-Heard announced Wednesday that four players have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Western Kentucky University and play basketball in the fall of 2015.

“I am excited to announce the new members of the Lady Topper Basketball Family,” said Clark-Heard. “The biggest thing for us is that we continue to get better. The players we’ve signed are going to help us to keep growing. We’re adding players that are athletic and driven to win. All of these young ladies have high standards, on and off the court. They’ll be great representatives of Lady Topper Basketball and WKU. Individually, they’re very good, each bringing unique qualities to the team. Together, they make up a strong class, getting us even closer to becoming a top 25 program again.

“This strong recruiting class is possible because of the work and success of the former players and the current players wearing the WKU jersey. We’ve won some games in the past two years. Recruits, parents and coaches notice that.”

The fall signing period began today and ends on Nov. 19, 2014.

2015 WKU Lady Topper Basketball Recruiting Class

Sidnee Bopp 5-6 G Marmaduke, Ark. (Marmaduke HS)
Dee Givens 6-1 F Lexington, Ky. (Lafayette HS)
Simone Goods 6-2 F Omaha, Neb. (Benson HS)
Kayla Smith 5-11 G/F Fayetteville, Ga. (Fayette County HS)

2015 LADY TOPPER BASKETBALL SIGNING CLASS BIOS AND QUOTES

SIDNEE BOPP

Sidnee Bopp averaged 14.6 points, 5.2 steals and 4.9 assists in 20 minutes per game as a junior at Marmaduke High School (Marmaduke, Ark.). The team finished 40-3 during her sophomore season, reaching the state finals and finished 38-5 last year with a state semifinalist finish.

Bopp is a two-time All-Conference and All-Region selection while she earned All-Tournament recognition at the state tournament during her sophomore season. Bopp has also been awarded All-NEA Tournament and All-Paragould Shootout Tournament honors during her sophomore and junior seasons. She played at Marmaduke for head coach Rick Smith.

She played with the Arkansas Hoopsters during the AAU season.

Bopp also excelled on the track, winning the Class 2A, Region 3 400 meter dash in 2014 and placing first in the 1600 meter run at the Paul Hoffman Hurricane Relays in April 2014 as a junior. As a sophomore, she also won the Class 2A, Region 3 400 meter dash. She also participated in the high jump and long jump during her prep track career.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard on Bopp…

“Sidnee Bopp is a tough kid who hates to lose. I love this quality about her. I saw it in her the first time I saw her play. She’s going to compete in every drill, on every possession, every day. She is a tremendous passer who can also shoot. The bottom line on Sidnee is she is a winner. She doesn’t care if it’s 15 assists or 15 points or even taking 15 charges. She wants to win. She’s won championships in both basketball and track in the state of Arkansas. She just knows how to win.”

DEE GIVENS

Dee Givens averaged 16.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a junior at Lafayette High School (Lexington, Ky.), shooting 43.7 percent from the field and knocking down a team-high 37 three-point field goals. Givens helped lead the Lady Generals to a 28-4 mark during her junior campaign, reaching the quarterfinals of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girl’s Sweet Sixteen State Tournament in E.A. Diddle Arena.

Givens notched 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting and added eight rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes in a 61-47 win over Glasgow in the opening round of the state tournament before scoring a team-high 19 points and four rebounds in 27 minutes in a 62-50 loss to eventual state champion Butler in the state quarterfinals. She shot 14-of-29 for the tournament while averaging 17.0 points in the two-game span.

She helped lead the Lady Generals to the 11th Region Championship by posting impressive wins over Scott County (70-51), Franklin County (63-54) and Dunbar (53-40). It followed a run in the 43rd District Tournament that saw Lafayette post wins over Lexington Christian (66-40) and Dunbar (66-46).

Givens was named an All-State Second Team and All-City First Team selection by the Lexington Herald-Leader following the 2013-14 season.

Givens helped the Generals to a 21-13 mark as a sophomore and 15-14 record during her freshman season. As a sophomore, Givens recorded 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while knocking down 37 three-point field goals. She posted 5.2 points and 1.7 boards in her inaugural season with Lafayette.

She played at Lafayette for head coach Allison Denton and played AAU basketball for WKU alum Jon Washington and the Kentucky Top Prospects.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard on Givens…

“We want the best players in the state of Kentucky to want to be a part of what’s happening here at WKU. Dee is one of those great Kentucky players we are thrilled to keep here at home. I’m really excited about Dee’s ability to shoot and defend, but I’m really looking forward to seeing her reach her full potential. As talented and gifted as Dee is now, she has the potential to really blossom into another one of those memorable, home-grown Lady Toppers. Dee has a great sense of humor that our players and fans will grow to enjoy too.”

SIMONE GOODS

Simone Goods will play her senior season at Omaha Benson High School, the defending girls state champions in Nebraska.

Goods averaged 13.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game last season for Omaha Northwest High School, earning All-State honorable mention selection from the Associated Press and the Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska’s Class A. She helped lead the squad to a 15-9 record in 2013-14. She played her freshman season at Omaha Burke.

She played with the Unity Stars during the AAU season for coach Bobby Massey.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard on Goods…

“We are so thankful to have a post player like Simone to join our program. She is an athletic, versatile post who can play facing the basket or with her back to the basket. She can pass, handle the ball and shoot. She’ll block shots and guard ball handlers. Simone has a great work ethic that our fans are going to love. She is a humble and appreciative young lady, who loves her family dearly. Making the choice to come to Bowling Green, Ky., from Nebraska tells you a lot about her commitment to becoming great.”

KAYLA SMITH

Kayla Smith has been rated among the top 100 players nationally during her prep career, including as high as 83rd nationally by the All Star Girls Report during the 2014 calendar year. She currently ranks among the top 50 shooting guards in the nation.

Smith averaged 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists during her junior season at Fayette County High School, leading her team to a 21-9 record in 2013-14. Last season, she was awarded first team All-Region, first team All-Metro Atlanta (Southside) and first team All-County honors while also gaining recognition from the Georgia Sports Writers Association and Atlanta Journal Constitution All-State Honorable Mention teams.

She played with the AOT Lady Rebels and Georgia Pistols during the AAU season.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard on Smith…

“I have known Kayla Smith since before I came to WKU. I’ve loved building a relationship with her and her family. Having Kayla choose to come to WKU was a big deal. Kayla played at the highest level of AAU and summer ball. She played with and against the very best in the country and she had too many scholarship offers to count. She’s a gifted defender and shooter. In addition to Kayla’s ability on the court, she is an outstanding 4.0 student and another high-character young lady, just like all of our current players and recruits.”

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WKU Uses Big Second Half to Beat Bellarmine 102-55 in Exhibition

WKU Uses Big Second Half to Beat Bellarmine 102-55 in Exhibition

Posted on 07 November 2014 by Allen

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WKU used a 15-0 run to open the second half to take control and coast to a 102-55 win over Bellarmine in the Lady Toppers’ lone exhibition game of the 2014-15 season. It was part of a dominating second half that saw WKU outscore Bellarmine 58-18 in the stanza.

RV/RV WKU shot 64.9% percent in the second half, including 7-of-12 from behind the three-point arc, to post the exhibition win.

Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch led WKU with 20 points and five rebounds in just 24 minutes. She was one of five Lady Toppers to score in double figures as sophomore Micah Jones had 17 points along with five assists and no turnovers. Senior Alexis Govan, making her first appearance in a WKU uniform since Dec. 21, 2013 due to injury, added 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Freshman Tashia Brown had 11 points and nine rebounds while sophomore Kendall Noble had 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals in 30 minutes.

“In the first half we were really sluggish but that’s kind of what you expect in front of the crowd, getting the jitters out,” said head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “I talked to them at halftime, I just wasn’t pleased with our defense. We gave up 37 points in that first half. So, that was one of our biggest focuses we talked about. I was really proud in the second half. I think defensively we turned it up. Tashia (Brown) and Alexis (Govan) got on top of the press and I think that started the energy for our big run.

“I just wanted to speed up the game a little bit because I think there was an opportunity for us to do some different things. We just tried to do some different things that we’ve been working on. So, I was glad we were able to get a good lead there so that we could play some different combinations of people.”

WKU jumped ahead 6-0 early thanks to three-point goals by Tashia Brown and Micah Jones, it jump started a quick beginning to the game for the Lady Toppers as WKU jumped ahead 21-9. Eight different players scored amongst WKU’s first nine field goals, showcasing the added depth of the 2014-15 Lady Topper roster. The Knights responded though, reeling off nine straight to cut the lead to 24-20.

The teams continued to battle during the remainder of the half with WKU holding a 44-37 edge at halftime as Govan and Gooch combined for 23 points. Tashia Brown had seven rebounds in the opening half.

The Lady Toppers came out of the locker room strong, scoring seven points before the Knights even took the ball over midcourt to jump ahead 51-37. The Lady Toppers extended the run to 15-0 to open the half to go up 59-37 and rolled to the win.

The game marked the return of Crystal Kelly to E.A. Diddle Arena. Kelly, the all-time leading scorer in Lady Topper Basketball history, is an assistant coach at Bellarmine.

The Lady Toppers open the 2014-15 season on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. CT in E.A. Diddle Arena when the team hosts Central Arkansas in the opening round of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT.

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Lady Toppers receive Top 25 Votes

Posted on 03 November 2014 by Allen

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Gooch and Brown garner Pre-season accolades

Gooch and Brown garner Pre-season accolades

Posted on 20 October 2014 by Allen

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Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch and freshman Ivy Brown have been recognized by CollegeSportsMadness.com as part of the outlet’s national preseason awards, it was announced Sunday.

Gooch was named as a Second Team All-American selection amongst High-Major teams while Brown was named the preseason Freshman of the Year amongst High-Major teams. High major teams, according to CollegeSportsMadness.com, include players in the Atlantic 10, Colonial, C-USA, Horizon, Mid-American, MVC, MWC and West Coast Conferences.

Last week, Gooch was named the preseason Conference USA Player of the Year by the outlet and a First Team All-League selection. Last season, Gooch was honored by CollegeSportsMadness.com as the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and a Mid-Major Second Team All-American.

Gooch averaged 18.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest for WKU last season, leading the team to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and WKU’s 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. She enjoyed one of the most productive seasons in WKU history, placing 10th on WKU’s single-season scoring record book and moving into the top 20 in career scoring and top 10 in both rebounds and blocks at WKU. Gooch, a two-time winner of the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year award, is the leading active career point scorer in Conference USA with 1,322 career points, one of just four active players in the league with 1,000 career points or more entering the 2014-15 season.

Brown comes to WKU after earning Miss Basketball honors in the state of Kentucky in 2014, marking the first winner of the award to sign with the WKU program out of high school since all-time leading scorer Crystal Kelly earned the honor in 2004. She led LaRue County to a 24-7 record in 2013-14, including wins in 10 of the final 11 games of the season and an appearance in the Fifth Region Championship Game. Among the most notable moments of the season for Brown and the Lady Hawks was a Jan. 27, 2014 win over the top-ranked team in the state of Kentucky on the road, Elizabethtown, scoring 27 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and dishing out nine assists in the win. Brown averaged 24.4 points per game and 12.6 rebounds per game for the Lady Hawks as a senior.

WKU takes the floor for their lone exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. CT when the Lady Toppers host Bellarmine before hosting the opening round of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT on Friday, Nov. 14 against Central Arkansas at 7:00 p.m. CT in E.A. Diddle Arena.

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Gooch Named C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, Three Named All-Conference

Gooch Named C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, Three Named All-Conference

Posted on 09 October 2014 by Allen

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Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch has been named the Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year and an All-Conference selection alongside teammates Alexis Govan and Kendall Noble, it was announced on Wednesday by the league offices.

Gooch, Govan and Noble took up three slots on the eight-member Preseason All-Conference USA Women’s Basketball team.

Head coach Michelle Clark-Heard’s Lady Toppers were also picked to finish second in the 14-team Conference USA standings in a vote by the league coaches, narrowly being edged out by Middle Tennessee for the top spot in the preseason predictions. WKU received five first place votes and 179 points overall while Middle Tennessee received six first place votes and 181 points. Southern Miss, UTEP, Charlotte, Old Dominion and LA Tech rounded out the top half of the standings. Overall, five different teams received first place votes in the preseason evaluation from league coaches.

WKU is set to begin its inaugural season as a member of Conference USA when the regular season tips off on Nov. 14, 2014. The program goes through its first official event as a league member next week during the league’s Media Day in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday.

Gooch’s selection as the preseason Player of the Year in Conference USA marks the second consecutive season that a WKU player has been named a preseason league Player of the Year. Last season, Govan was a preseason Player of the Year honoree by the Sun Belt Conference. Govan’s selection as the Preseason SBC Player of the Year was the first preseason SBC Player of the Year honor for WKU since 2008-09 when Dominique Duck earned the nod from league coaches.

Gooch averaged 18.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest for WKU last season, leading the team to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and WKU’s 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. She enjoyed one of the most productive seasons in WKU history, placing 10th on WKU’s single-season scoring record book and moving into the top 20 in career scoring and top 10 in both rebounds and blocks at WKU. Gooch, a two-time winner of the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year award, is the leading active career point scorer in Conference USA with 1,322 career points, one of just four active players in the league with 1,000 career points or more entering the 2014-15 season.

Govan, a senior All-American candidate, played in just 11 games in 2013-14 due to a stress fracture in her left tibia. She played in every non-conference game before the injury caused her to miss the remainder of the season, including all 18 conference games, the three conference tournament game and the NCAA Tournament game with Baylor. Govan averaged 16.5 points in 11 starts for WKU. She shot over 43 percent from the field and piled up 4.6 rebounds per game. WKU was 8-3 with Govan in the lineup. Her last action came on Dec. 21, 2013 when she hit the game-winning shot in the final seconds against Georgetown to cap a 16-point comeback win in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the Puerto Rico Classic.

Her early success in 2013-14 came on the heels of an outstanding 2012-13 campaign that saw her rank among the nation’s leading scorers. Govan was the third highest scoring sophomore in the nation and 15th highest scoring player overall. Her 20.3 points per game ranked as the fourth most by a player in program history as she was named a First Team All-Conference selection. Her 671 points ranked as the sixth most in a single season in program history. Her most notable individual performance of the year came when she scored 40 points in an 82-80 win over North Texas on Dec. 29, 2012 in E.A. Diddle Arena, one of just 14 40-point performances in the nation during the 2012-13 season and one of just three by a sophomore.

Noble, a redshirt sophomore, emerged as one of the nation’s most versatile players last season. She finished the 2013-14 season as the only freshman in the nation averaging at least 10.0 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per contest in conference play this season. She finished her first full year on the floor averaging 11.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while compiling 96 assists and 76 steals.

In program history, Noble is one of just 11 players to reach 275 points or more during their freshman season at WKU. She finished the year ranked seventh in WKU history for WKU freshmen. All-time leading scorer Crystal Kelly owns the WKU record for points by a freshmen with 579. Noble finished the season with 342 points.

The Lady Toppers will take the floor in front of the public on Saturday, Oct. 18 when WKU hosts Hilltopper Hysteria in E.A. Diddle Arena at 6:00 p.m. CT. Hilltopper Hysteria includes individual player and coach introductions for both the men’s and women’s program, scrimmages by both teams, a slam dunk contest, three-point contest and an autograph session with both teams to end the night. Hilltopper Hysteria will also feature performances from the WKU Pep Band, the WKU Topperettes, the WKU Cheerleaders and Big Red.

WKU takes the floor for their lone exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. CT when the Lady Toppers host Bellarmine before hosting the opening round of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT on Friday, Nov. 14 against Central Arkansas at 7:00 p.m. CT in E.A. Diddle Arena.

2014-15 Preseason C-USA Women’s Basketball Poll

1. Middle Tennessee (6) – 181 points

2. WKU (5) – 179 points

3. Southern Miss (1) – 163 points

4. UTEP (1) – 154 points

5. Charlotte – 132 points

6. Old Dominion – 116 points

7. LA Tech – 105 points

8. UAB – 104 points

t9. North Texas – 70 points

t9. UTSA (1) – 70 points

11. FIU – 61 points

12. Rice – 58 points

13. Florida Atlantic – 45 points

14. Marshall – 32 points

(#) – designates first-place votes

Preseason Player of the Year
Chastity Gooch, WKU

2014-15 Preseason All-Conference USA Women’s Basketball Team

Lefty Webster, Charlotte, So., G, Norfolk, Virginia

Whitney Frazier, LA Tech, Sr., F, El Dorado, Arkansas

Olivia Jones, Middle Tennessee, So., G/F, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Tamara Jones, Southern Miss, Sr., F, Prosser, Washington

Chelsee Black, UAB, Jr., G, Bessemer, Alabama

Chastity Gooch, WKU, Sr., F, Franklin, Kentucky

Alexis Govan, WKU, Sr., G/F, San Antonio, Texas

Kendall Noble, WKU, RS So., G, Hazard, Kentucky

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Lady Toppers kick off practice

Lady Toppers kick off practice

Posted on 07 October 2014 by Allen

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The WKU Lady Topper Basketball program took the floor on Sunday afternoon to begin preparations for the upcoming 2014-15 season, holding their first official practice since becoming a member of Conference USA this past summer.

The start of preseason practice marked the start of Michelle Clark-Heard’s third season as head coach of the Lady Toppers. In just two seasons, Clark-Heard has pushed the program back into the national spotlight following a 24-9 campaign in 2013-14 and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament on the tails of a conference tournament championship. It follows WKU’s first-year turnaround under Clark-Heard that saw the team go from nine wins to 22 in her first year as head coach at her alma mater.

Following the session, Clark-Heard reflected on the start of practice.

“I am excited to get the first one under our belt,” said Clark-Heard. “We did some good things today, but we have to get better taking care of the basketball and getting in the groove of the things we are trying to do. The effort overall was good, we just have to keep getting better.”

The team returns reigning league Defensive Player of the Year and WBCA All-American honorable mention selection Chastity Gooch, Govan and reigning league Freshman of the Year Kendall Noble. It also welcomes in 2014 Kentucky Miss Basketball Ivy Brown and Tashia Brown to highlight the incoming class of freshman. In all, the team returns nine letterwinners from a year ago, including four starters.

The Lady Toppers will take the floor in front of the public on Saturday, Oct. 18 when WKU hosts Hilltopper Hysteria in E.A. Diddle Arena at 6:00 p.m. CT. Hilltopper Hysteria includes individual player and coach introductions for both the men’s and women’s program, scrimmages by both teams, a slam dunk contest, three-point contest and an autograph session with both teams to end the night. Hilltopper Hysteria will also feature performances from the WKU Pep Band, the WKU Topperettes, the WKU Cheerleaders and Big Red.

WKU takes the floor for their lone exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. CT when the Lady Toppers host Bellarmine before hosting the opening round of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT on Friday, Nov. 14 against Central Arkansas at 7:00 p.m. CT in E.A. Diddle Arena.

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Scores

Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

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