Meet the Browns: Brown duo leading Lady Toppers

WKU Forward Tashia Brown (10) drives the ball during the Lady Toppers 82-63 win over Florida Atlantic on Feb. 3 at Diddle Arena. Brown lead the team in scoring with 25 points.

Tyler Mansfield

After Kendall Noble and Micah Jones played their final games as Lady Toppers March 17, 2017, in a loss to Ohio State in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Ivy Brown and Tashia Brown – both juniors at the time – knew they had to immediately step up and fill the voids that the pair of veterans in front of them left. And that’s exactly what the senior duo has done in 2017-18.

“I mean, you look around and look at all the pieces that we don’t have from last year,” WKU womens basketball head coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “(Tashia) and Ivy have worked really hard to help this program get to where we’re at right now. They were ready for this moment. They’re just stepping up to the plate.”

Tashia and Ivy, often referred to as “The Browns,” are teammates, best friends and pretty much sisters, but not by blood. The two both arrived to the Hill at the same time and have built an unbreakable bond both on and off the court.

As their friendship away from basketball is just as special, their connection as Lady Topper players is what has caught the attention of many, as the duo has had quite the career in the red and white.

Over the course of their four-year runs at WKU, Tashia has averaged 14.9 points per game, while Ivy has produced 10.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 125 total games. Those numbers have only increased this season, as Tashia is leading all of Conference USA with 23.2 PPG and Ivy is averaging a double-double of 16.2 points and 10.0 rebounds.

Tashia’s play this year has definitely not gone unnoticed.

“I think Tashia can do a lot of things that a lot of players at that elite level – Power 5 that everyone talks about – can definitely do,” Clark-Heard said. “When she’s rebounding this way, when she’s able to get steals and she’s able to score by getting to the basket or making her pull-up, I think she’s very dangerous … she’s really special.”

One of the top scoring threats in Lady Topper history, she now ranks seventh on WKU’s all-time scoring list and has already surpassed hall of famers Clemette Haskins, ShaRae Mansfield and Kami Thomas.

Most recently, Tashia was named one of 10 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2018 Cheryl Miller Award, which is presented annually to the top Division I small forward in the nation.  

“Tashia’s a great player, and night-in and night-out she’s scoring 25,” Ivy said of her teammate and best friend. “Her ability to score is just pure. I haven’t really seen anyone like her be able to score like that and shoot her pull-up. She has the best pull-up in the country that I’ve seen. I’m just really excited for her.”

Although Tashia receives much praise for the way she performs, Ivy is right beside her.

Ivy has had an outstanding senior campaign, as she has already recorded 11 double-doubles this year, which is the most she’s had in a season since becoming a Lady Topper. She currently leads C-USA in rebounding and ranks sixth in scoring.

“I know we talk a lot about Tashia, but Ivy’s right up there too,” Clark-Heard said. “That’s the reason why we’re winning and where we’re at right now at 8-1 in the conference because day-in and day-out Ivy Brown shows up, no matter what.

“These will be two of the best players to go down in history at Western Kentucky, and I’m pretty lucky to be sitting here as a coach and not only coach them as great players, but they’re great individuals.”

 

Sports Reporter Tyler Mansfield can be reached at 270-935-0007 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @_TylerMansfield.