Lady Tops release 2015-2016 schedule

WKU Women’s Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard cuts down the net following her team’s championship victory against Southern Miss. in the Conference USA tournament championship Friday March 14, 2015 at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The victory clinched a NCAA tournament spot for the Lady Toppers and vaulted their record to 30-4. Luke Franke/HERALD

Jonah Phillips

This week the WKU athletic department released the 2015-2016 schedule in full for the Lady Topper basketball team.

As the Lady Toppers make their second splash in the C-USA, their non-conference slate is highlighted by a home opener against the University of Louisville, an away clash with Ole Miss, and a trip over 4,000 miles away to Anchorage, Alaska for the 2015 GCI Great Alaska Shootout.

For head coach Michelle Clark-Heard the trip to Alaska could prove to be a familiar one.  The Lady Toppers have competed in the Great Alaska Shootout twice before in 1986 and 1988 (finishing third both times).  Clark-Heard, the reigning C-USA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year was on the 1988 Lady Topper squad that traveled to Anchorage.

The upcoming campaign could prove to be a season of transition for the Lady Toppers, as they bid farewell to three seniors last season in Chastity Gooch, Alexis Govan and Ileana Johnson.

In 2014-2015 WKU posted a 30-5 mark, which was a C-USA record for wins in a season. Though, the Lady Tops are returning six letter winners—including C-USA All-Freshman selection Tashia Brown, senior and three-year starter Micah Jones, and C-USA Defensive Player of the Year Kendall Noble.

These three standouts from last season will be tasked with ushering in a new era of Lady Topper basketball—one without the likes of Gooch and Govan.

“We are excited about the opportunity to take the next steps forward as a program and look forward to the challenges that are in front of us with our non-conference schedule in prepping for another run at a conference title,” Clark-Heard said via WKU press release.

The bench certainly won’t lack depth.  As the three seniors departed (and Lithuanian sophomore Ruta Savickaite left by way of transfer), eight new faces were brought in by way of recruitment.

The quality of that depth is what remains in question, as well whether Brown, Jones, and Noble collectively will be able to match the offensive output of Gooch and Govan last season.

In 2014-2015 the duo of Gooch and Govan combined for 1,158 (43.75 percent) of the Lady Toppers 2,647 points while the trio of Brown, Jones, and Noble accounted for 969 points (36.61 percent).

This Lady Topper Squad—a mix of old and new—will face their first test on Thursday, November 19 in Muncie, Indiana against Ball State.