Lady Tops defeat ranked Indiana 85-74

Sophomore guard Kayla Smith (32) makes a break for the basket while Indiana Hoosiers junior forward Amanda Cahill (33) reaches for the ball during the Lady Toppers’ 85-74 win against Indiana University Saturday Nov. 19, 2016 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Sam Porter

The WKU women’s basketball team welcomed 23rd ranked and 3-0 Indiana University Bloomington to E. A. Diddle Arena on Saturday afternoon in a non-conference showdown.

After defeating No. 16 Louisville a year ago, the Lady Tops looked to beat ranked teams in back to back seasons for the first time since the 1996-97 and 1997-98 campaigns.

Thanks to 28 points by junior forward Tashia Brown and 26-28 shooting from the free throw line as a team, the Lady Tops took down the Lady Hoosiers by a score of 85-74 to improve to 2-1 on the season.

“I think the biggest thing for us was the game plan.” Head Coach Michelle Clark-Hear said after the win. “We followed the game plan to a T. We boxed out more. We took care of the basketball. Executing is what it is all about. We took advantage of the things they gave us.”

Instead of starting her usual lineup, Clark-Heard decided to make a last minute change in her starting lineup.

Freshman forward Sarah Price made her first career start instead of redshirt senior Micah Jones. Clark-Heard said she made the decision based on the size advantage Indiana brought.

“As a staff we decided that we probably needed a little change up,” Clark-Heard said about the last minute decision to start Price. “With Sarah in there we now have two posts and we’re running our motion offense the way that we have been. We were just looking at some different things as a coaching staff.

Price made her presence felt early. The Owingsville, Kentucky native scored the game’s opening bucket.

However, the lady Hoosiers would jump out to a 17-14 lead after the first quarter and push the lead 23-16 early in the second quarter.

Slowly but surely, the Lady Tops began to find their rhythm. Trailing 28-24, sophomore forward Kayla Smith scored 6 straight points after not scoring at all to give WKU a two point lead.

The two teams traded baskets before senior guard Ima Akpan’s jumper gave the Lady Tops a 34-30 lead at the half.

“Our bench was very big,” redshirt senior guard Kendall Noble said. “Micah Jones came off the bench and hit threes and Ima played very well. The bench brought a big boost to us.”

The two teams continued to trade baskets in the 3rd quarter, but WKU extended their lead to 63-56 headed into the final quarter.

That’s when Tashia Brown began to score at will. The Lake Park, Georgia native scored all nine of WKU’s points during a 9-2 to open the fourth quarter.

“Coach-Heard told us it was gut check time,” Tashia Brown said about her performance in the fourth quarter. “We had to what knew how to do in attacking them offensively and getting stops on the other end.”

Brown scored 15 of her 28 points in the final quarter as the Lady Tops pulled away for an 85-74 victory.

The lady tops improve to 2-1 and will play No. 20 DePaul next Friday at the 2016 Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida.

“We’re very excited,” Clark-Heard said about playing against DePaul. “DePaul has a lot of rich history. Doug Bruno is an amazing coach. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”