Lady Topper basketball to host Austin Peay on Saturday

WKU’s guard Kendall Noble (12) shoots the ball from between Louisville forward Cortnee Walton (13) and forward Mariya Moore (4) during the Lady Topper’s 71-69 win Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Evan Heichelbech

The Lady Toppers basketball team will face Austin Peay University’s Lady Govs on Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. in Diddle Arena after the football team’s Conference USA Championship clash that Saturday morning.

Austin Peay is just 2-7 on the season but has played tough competitions so far, including games against California, Vanderbilt and Indiana.

In those contests, Austin Peay lost to California 58-67 at home and lost on the road to both Vanderbilt and Indiana 56-73 and 58-90, respectively.

The Lady Govs have also played two common opponents with WKU this season.

While the Lady Toppers lost to Ball State by a 14-point margin, the Lady Governers lost 72-44 at Ball State on Nov. 23, four days after WKU fell 74-60 to the Cardinals.

Austin Peay also played Middle Tennessee Nov. 29 and fell 86-55. WKU will play the Blue Raiders twice this season in conference play: Jan. 30 in Murfreesboro and Feb. 25 in Bowling Green.

Austin Peay has a bit more experience on its roster compared to the Lady Toppers.

The Lady Govs have 13 upperclassmen on their roster whereas WKU has only five returning players.

Senior guard Tiasha Gray and junior center Tearra Banks lead the Lady Govs; respectively, they average 16 and 13.3 points per game.

The Lady Govs are shooting just 37 percent from the field and have a -12 scoring margin through nine games.

The Lady Toppers are seeing veterans like redshirt junior guard Kendall Noble and sophomore forwards Tashia Brown and Ivy Brown emerge to be leaders for the team. Micah Jones is out for the year after sustaining a knee injury against Louisville.

All three veteran players average at least 12.3 points per game and have played a combined 399 minutes compared to just 401 for the rest of the team.

Freshman guard and forward Kayla Smith has been a big player for Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard off the bench thus far. Smith is averaging 9.8 points per game and has logged 107 minutes.

Saturday’s matchup will be another quick turnaround for WKU after it played a midweek contest last night.

This pace won’t be new to the Lady Toppers, who had to do the same two-day turnaround two weeks ago from Ball State to Louisville and played two games in two days last week in the 2015 GCI Great Alaska Shootout.

The Lady Toppers played on the road in Oxford, Mississippi, against Ole Miss on Dec. 2, but as of time of publication, final statistics and comments were not available. Prior to the clash with Ole Miss, the Lady Toppers held a 4-1 overall record.