WKU puts away in-state rival EKU

WKU’s guard Kendall Noble (12) drives to the basket past Louisville forward Cortnee Walton (13) during the Lady Topper’s 71-69 win Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Evan Heichelbech

The WKU Lady Hilltoppers came out victorious over in-state rival Eastern Kentucky University on Wednesday, defeating the Lady Colonels 76-60 for their twelfth-straight win in the cross-state series.

The Lady Tops relied on the things that helped them get off to a positive 6-2 start—solid defense and high-volume production from its starters.

Early defensive pressure helped Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard’s team establish the tone of the game as they earned another victory over a quality opponent. 

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“We need to keep focusing on being a defensive team. I was really glad that we held them to 60 points. This team was averaging over 70 points per game,” Clark-Heard said.

WKU held the opposing Lady Colonels to just 34 percent shooting on the night and never looked back after an early run pushed the lead to 14 points heading into halftime. 

“I am [pleased] and I think what is really good is that players like Tashia Brown and Ivy [Brown], really stepped up to the plate because they know that’s what the coaching staff is preaching to them every single day,” Clark-Heard said. “That’s why I’m really glad, with them being very young, they have accepted their roles. Our ultimate goal is to keep getting better every single game, so we can be ready for conference play.”

Sophomore forward Tashia Brown dropped a career-high 23 points on Wednesday night, making it her third consecutive contest scoring at least 21 points.

“It’s just awesome to have that,” Clark-Heard said. “Her shot is falling, she’s just doing a lot of good things and I’m happy for her, because she’s just getting in the gym and continuing to do the things that she needs to for us to get better.”

Sophomore forward Ivy Brown posted her third double-double of the year with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and despite being double-teamed for essentially the whole game, junior guard Kendall Noble found a way to put together another double-digit performance, finishing with 14 points.

“Ivy does a lot of great things because she is running the floor, she is rebounding, and she got another double-double again tonight. So I’m just really proud of how we’re growing,” Clark-Heard said.

Beyond the starters, WKU is playing solid basketball in preparation for conference play at the turn of the calendar.

“I think that every single game, different people are going to step up,” Clark Heard said. “That’s what we want our bench to be able to do. Hopefully one day we can get five, six, or seven players in double figures once we start bringing people off the bench. That would be any coaches hope that they can do that, so that’s why we will continue to keep working on it.”

The Lady Tops will be back on the hardwood Friday inside TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. against College of Charleston for the first meeting between the two schools. The Lady Cougars are 5-3 on the season and will tipoff against WKU at 5:30 p.m.  

“I know they have a player that is really good, she averages 14 or 15 points per game, an athletic guard,” Clark-Heard said. “But for us, our whole focus is for our defense to keep getting better and make sure we do the things that we need to with guarding.”