Lady Toppers head to Florida with C-USA destiny in own hands

WKU Freshman forward Tashia Brown drives toward the basket during WKU’s game against Marshall at Diddle Arena on January 4, 2015. The lady toppers won with a final score of 67-53. Mike Clark/HERALD

Jonah Phillips

The Lady Toppers will complete their final road swing of the season this weekend in Florida with contests against Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University. 

Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard has been preaching teamwork in the last stretch of the season. 

“Obviously there are instances and situations where a player can win a game,” Clark-Heard said. “Everyone knows that, but it is a team sport, and we have so many players that can do different things. That’s why we are 23-4.” 

With just one win out of the two games, WKU women’s basketball (23-4, 12-2) would notch its 900th program win. WKU would join Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, James Madison, Old Dominion, Stephen F. Austin, Texas, Stanford, Ohio State, Connecticut and North Carolina as the only NCAA programs to accomplish the feat. 

The Lady Toppers will rely on the consistency they have seen since beginning league play to carry them through to conference tournament time.  WKU has won 12 of its last 14 games since starting conference play, with losses coming from UTSA and Southern Miss. 

“When you get to the month of February, you want to be playing your best basketball,” Clark-Heard said. “So that’s what we want to do.  We want to keep tweaking the things we need to — so we are ready to go every time the ball is thrown up.”

 WKU controls its own destiny in the final two weeks of the season, after beating Middle Tennessee on Feb. 21 in a game that left first place up for grabs. If the team wins out, they will have sole possession of the conference. 

Florida Atlantic (12-13, 6-8) suffered a 80-43 loss to the Lady Toppers on Jan. 15, and the Lady Toppers will look for similar results to achieve top form before conference tournament time. 

“We aren’t worried as much about shooting,” Micah Jones said. “We just have to focus on defense and getting stops. Shooting will come.”

A similar matchup awaits them against FIU (3-22, 0-14) who they defeated on Jan. 17 81-42. 

Tipoff against FAU is set for 6 p.m. CT on Thursday in Boca Raton. The team will travel to Miami for Saturday’s 5 p.m. CT matchup against FIU.