Lady Toppers to host daunting C-USA foe Middle Tennessee State University

From Left: WKU freshman guard Ally Collett (3) faces Ball State guard Sydney Freeman (11) as WKU forward Fatou Pouye (12) blocks Ball State forward Thelma Dis Agustsdottir (10) in WKU’s game against Ball State on Dec. 5, 2020. WKU fell to Ball State 58-54.

Drew Toennies

WKU head coach Greg Collins spent Thursday morning addressing questions regarding the Lady Toppers (3-7), (2-2, C-USA) next matchup against the MTSU Lady Blue Raiders (7-4), (5-1, C-USA).

Collins talked about how this weekend’s matchup against a tough conference opponent is an important game and an important rekindling of a long series of battles against one of the Lady Toppers biggest rivals.

“That rivalry probably carries more weight with me and with Ivy Brown and with some of the coaches that have been here,” Collins said. “Raneem certainly gets that sense. But to a lot of the freshmen, it’s still new.”

Collins made mention of how MTSU redshirt junior Anastasia Hayes and her sister Aislynn Hayes are such a powerhouse duo for the C-USA foe.

“They’re really patient with the ball, they’re fast, and really gifted at getting to the basket and finishing, “Collins said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Collins also said MTSU will be a challenge when it comes to offensive boards.

“They shoot better as a team from the three point line than anybody on our team shoots individually,” Collins said.

Coach Collins also addressed the return of WKU senior Raneem Elgedawy to the team after debuting last week against Marshall.

“She’s really confident, she’s still working her way into playing shape,” Collins said. “She’s not in the best shape she can be, but she’s playing the way mature players do. It gives us a whole lot of confidence.”

Collins said he believes Raneem isn’t playing the best she can yet, but she has been making an impact on the floor. Collins also said that the challenge with this upcoming matchup will be guarding the Hayes girls, but it would be best if their opponents didn’t leave Raneem unguarded.

“She’s still a real force inside,” Collins said. “Our challenge is making sure we get the ball to her enough and in the right places.”

Collins also talked about the younger players on the team and how they have been growing as players based on the last few performances.

“There was a big change from Thursday to Sunday,” Collins said. “On Sunday, we still didn’t do everything perfectly, but when things went wrong, we didn’t lose our composure. That’s growth, that’s improvement.”

Collins also talked about how the team is growing quickly and how their improvement is key.

“We have a little bit of a rollercoaster with some of the young kids,” Collins said. “It’s not just game to game, it’s almost quarter to quarter, sometimes possession to possession and even in practice.”

Furthermore, Collins believes that Raneem’s presence on the team has unified the team.

“In some way, she gives them not just a presence on the floor, but a confidence,” Collins said. “We can throw the ball to her, and it gives them confidence with the ball.”

The Lady Toppers will tip off against conference rival MTSU on Friday at home. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Women’s basketball beat reporter Drew Toennies at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @drew_toennies.