Lady Tops cruise to twelfth straight victory

Freshman guard/forward Kayla Smith (32) drives for a layup during WKU’s game against Old Dominion on Jan. 21 at Diddle Arena. WKU defeated the Lady Monarchs 68-51. Jake Hurdt/HERALD

Evan Heichelbech

Thursday’s mid-day contest against Old Dominion University inside Diddle Arena turned into yet another victory for the WKU women’s basketball team.

The Lady Tops cruised past the Monarchs by a final score of 68-51 as they improved their record in Conference USA play to 6-0 on the season. 

Any one of the players who Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard puts into the game is capable of scoring double digits on any given night. 

“We had four players in double figures today,” Coach Clark-Heard said according to a post-game interview transcript. “That was a really good basketball team and credit to them, but I am really glad we were on our home floor. It is really important for us because people are really going to key on Kendall (Noble), Ivy (Brown) and Tashia (Brown) so when you have different people set up and make it across the board for everyone. ”

The Lady Tops have held their opponents under 69 points the past 16 times they’ve stepped onto the court.

The box score from Thursday’s game was typical of WKU”s games so far this season. The Lady Toppers out-rebounded ODU 37-31, scored 29 points off of 22 ODU turnovers and shot a better percentage from the field than the Monarchs.

“We knew rebounding was going to be crucial for us during this game,” Clark-Heard said. “We had some great bench production. Dee (Givens) and Taylor (Brown) had their hands on a lot of balls.”

Sophomore forwards Tashia and Ivy Brown were joined by freshman forward Dee Givens off the bench as all three players tied with a team-high 14 points.

After scoring a career-high 31 points and cracking 1,000 total points for her career, junior guard Kendall Noble had just 10 points on the day. She also managed to notch 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 7 steals and a block.

Freshman forward Taylor Brown added a nice spark off the bench for WKU as she turned in an 8 point, 7 rebound performance.

“Coach Heard said that everyone is an important player on this team,” Taylor Brown said according to a postgame interview transcript.  “We need each other and today it was very important for me to come off the bench and give it all we got. I should be doing that for all games but it’s important for me to play aggressive and give it all I got for all 40 minutes.”

The Lady Tops will be back inside Diddle Arena for the final leg of this four-game homestead when they face the Charlotte 49ers at 2 p.m. on Saturday.