Coming off its strongest defensive performance of the season against Middle Tennessee on Thursday evening, WKU will wrap up its opening weekend of C-USA play as it hosts Southern Miss at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon inside E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Lady Toppers were dominant defensively on Thursday evening, holding archrival Middle Tennessee to just 43 points and 32.5 percent shooting (13-of-40) from the floor in a 57-43 win. The 43 points were the fewest that WKU has allowed in a single game since holding FIU to 38 points on Jan. 1, 2017, and gave WKU its fourth straight win over the Blue Raiders.
Tashia Brown leads all C-USA players with 23.1 points per game and fellow preseason All-C-USA pick Ivy Brown is just shy of averaging a double-double at 15 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. The pair have combined to score nearly 50 percent of WKU’s points this season.
Southern Miss has dropped three of its last four games entering Saturday’s tilt, including a 66-56 setback against Charlotte on Thursday. Jayla King leads the Golden Eagles with 15.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, while Shonte Hailes has dished out a team-best 80 assists and started all but one game. Only Megan Brown has started all 14 games for Southern Miss.
WKU will close out its four-game homestand in its next time out, taking on FIU inside Diddle Arena next Thursday evening at 7 p.m. as it continues C-USA action.
GAME #15 / C-USA GAME #2 – WKU VS. SOUTHERN MISS
WKU (10-4, 1-0 C-USA) vs. Southern Miss (8-6, 0-1 C-USA)
January 6, 2018 | 2:00 p.m. (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. | E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
– As of Jan. 4, WKU is ranked No. 33 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings and has faced three teams in the top 15 in Notre Dame, Missouri and Iowa. WKU is the lone C-USA representative in the top 100 of the rankings, with Middle Tennessee second at No. 122.
– Saturday’s battle will be a rematch of both the 2015 and 2017 C-USA Tournament championship games. WKU won its first C-USA title with a 60-57 victory over the Golden Eagles on March 14, 2015, and the Lady Toppers repeated that feat on March 11, 2017, for their second title in three seasons, taking down Southern Miss, 67-56, in Birmingham.
– Since its last home C-USA loss against UTEP on Feb. 6, 2016, WKU has won 12 consecutive home tilts against conference competition. As members of C-USA, the Lady Toppers own a 26-2 home record (.929) against conference foes.
– Already 11th in program history with 1,655 career points, Tashia Brown is looking to move even further up the charts during her senior season. To move into the top 10 in school history, Brown would need to score 108 more points during her final season on The Hill.
– Tashia Brown leads C-USA and is fourth among all players in the nation with 23.1 points per game in 2017-18. Brown has not scored fewer than 14 points in any single game this season.
– After knocking down 15 of her last 25 three-point attempts, Sidnee Bopp now leads all C-USA players with her 49.0 three-point field goal percentage this season. Heading into Saturday’s game against Southern Miss, Bopp is 24-of-49 from three-point range this season, and her 49.0 percent mark would currently top the program’s single-season charts in the category.
– Ivy Brown is currently tied for 15th in the country with eight double-doubles, already matching her total from the entire 2016-17 season. Brown has 26 career points-rebounds double-doubles, tied with Shea Lunsford and Dianne Depp for the seventh-most in program history.
– Through 14 games, Ivy Brown is also approaching the top 10 in program history in total rebounds, needing just 22 more boards to break into that group. The Hodgenville, Ky., native is also sixth in school history with 118 blocks and her 80.0 percent mark from the free throw line for her career is sixth among all Lady Toppers who have made at least 200 free throws.
– When holding opponents under 70 points this season, WKU owns a perfect 9-0 record and is 114-13 (.898) in that category dating back to the 2012-13 season.
– Through 14 games, WKU leads all C-USA teams and ranks 14th nationally for the fewest turnovers per game, giving up the ball only 12.2 times per contest. The Lady Toppers have had single-digit turnovers in five games this season and rank second in the league in turnover margin at +6.3 per game.
– Through 14 games, WKU leads C-USA and is 11th in the country from the free throw line, going 213-of-275 (77.5 percent) from the charity stripe. The Lady Toppers’ 213 made free throws are second only to Charlotte’s 221 among all C-USA teams, and WKU has shot 80 percent or better in six games this season.
– After allowing an average of 82.8 points per game across its first four matchups this season, WKU’s defense has buckled down over its last 10 games. During that stretch, the Lady Toppers are giving up only 59.0 points per game and have allowed more than 64 points just one time over that same span.
– WKU has been very strong at collecting its own misses this season and has tallied nearly as many offensive rebounds as those on the defensive end. The Lady Toppers have pulled down a league-leading 16.6 offensive boards per game, and Ivy Brown ranks second among all C-USA players with 4.2 offensive rebounds per game. WKU’s 16.6 offensive boards also ranks 11th in the nation among Division I teams.
– Just one week after Ivy Brown tied the program record with 16 points in the third quarter at Southern Illinois, Tashia Brown matched that mark in the third quarter against Toledo on Dec. 17. Brown scored 16 of the team’s 18 points in the frame, including 14 straight points, and outscored the entire Toledo team, 16-13, over the 10-minute span.
– WKU owns an impressive record under Clark-Heard when breaking the 80-point barrier. The Lady Toppers have posted a near-perfect 51-3 mark when scoring 80 or more since the 2012-13 season.
– WKU has started a true freshman at least five times in each of the last four seasons. Tashia Brown earned five starts in 2014-15, Kayla Smith drew 31 starts in 2015-16, Sarah Price appeared in the starting lineup five times in 2016-17 and Raneem Elgedawy (14) and Sherry Porter (6) have been consistent starters for the Lady Toppers this season.
Listen: 102.7 FM and 1450AM in Bowling Green (Jevin Redman, pxp; John Butler, analysis)
Watch: Fox College Sports / WKU PBS (Jeff Younglove, pxp; Paul Sanderford, analysis)
Live Audio: C-USA TV (Online Audio)
Live Stats: Courtesy of WKU Athletics
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.
– @WKUSports –
Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Athletic Communications