The Lady Topper Basketball program celebrated its highly successful 2016-17 campaign with its annual postseason banquet on Tuesday evening inside the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Stadium Club inside Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
Seven individual awards were presented to 2016-17 team members with additional members honored for their academic achievements during the campaign.
Kendall Noble and Ivy Brown were awarded the team’s co-MVP honors after both earned First Team All-C-USA honors, making WKU the first program in conference history to have multiple First Team selections in three consecutive seasons. Noble and Brown combined for 29.3 points and 14.6 rebounds per game this season to help lead the Lady Toppers to their third NCAA Tournament berth in the last four seasons. Brown also led the team with 45 blocked shots, just one shy of moving into the top 10 on the single-season charts in the category.
Sidnee Bopp took home the team’s Most Improved Player award. The Marmaduke, Ark., native broke out over the final two weeks of the season, knocking down 22 of her 34 three-pointers on the season over WKU’s final six games. The sophomore finished as C-USA’s leader in three-point percentage (.442) this season, a mark that was also the fifth-highest in a single season in WKU’s record book. Bopp was named to the C-USA All-Tournament Team after going 12-of-23 (.522) from beyond the arc during WKU’s run to the championship.
The Big Red Award, given annually to the player who exemplifies everything that an ideal teammate should be, was presented to Naomi Mayes. The sophomore appeared in eight games for the Lady Toppers and provided a constant spark on the practice court and in workouts for her teammates.
Kyvin Goodin-Rogers was the recipient of the Newcomer of the Year award after making 25 starts in 26 appearances. The Kentucky transfer made her debut in a hostile environment on the road at No. 8 Louisville on Dec. 11 and finished fourth among Lady Toppers with 8.1 points per game and 107 total rebounds. Playing on her former home court in Lexington against Ohio State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Goodin-Rogers nearly tallied a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds as WKU nearly pulled off the upset against the Buckeyes.
The McGee/Means Award, named in honor of former Lady Toppers Chaney Means and Bianca McGee, is presented to the player who epitomizes the ideal of being a team-first individual in everything that they do. Micah Jones and Tashia Brown were co-recipients of the award this season, with Jones leading the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.73) and Brown notching Second Team All-C-USA honors following a strong junior campaign.
Kendall Noble captured the 2017 Deflection Award, given to the player who acts as the strongest defensive force on the team. The redshirt senior collected 84 steals and established a new program record for steals in a career with 358 takeaways, the second-most among all active Division I players at the end of the season.
Ivy Brown took home the final individual award, the Half-Court Award, which is given to the player who knocked down the most half-court shots in practice. The Hodgenville, Ky., consistently connected from long range throughout the season to come home with the honor.
The 2016-17 Lady Toppers closed out the season with a 27-7 record and swept both the C-USA regular season and tournament championships to reach the NCAA Tournament for the third time under Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard. In her five seasons at the helm of the program, WKU has collected 130 victories and has posted three consecutive seasons with 25 or more wins for the first time in program history. In addition, the Lady Toppers have knocked off a ranked team in each of the last two seasons and are one of just eight programs in the nation with a 10-game winning streak in each of the past four campaigns.
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Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Media Relations