No. 25 Lady Toppers notch 11th straight win

Sophomore Guard Kendall Noble drives the ball to the basket against the University of Louisville at the Yum! Center, November 25, 2014. Justin Gilliland/HERALD November 25, 2014.

Jonah Phillips

The Lady Toppers extended their win streak to 11 as they completed an undefeated four-game road swing in Norfolk, Virginia, beating Old Dominion 76-60. The Lady Toppers (14-2) hold a perfect record of 3-0 in their inaugural Conference USA campaign, and haven’t lost a game since November 25 against No. 6 Louisville at the KFC YUM! Center.

Seven first-half three pointers aided WKU to a 35-27 lead at halftime.  At the break, junior Micah Jones lead the Lady Toppers in points with 12, all of them notched from behind the arc as she shot 4-6.

“I knew they were going to come out and be ready to play.  They have a really good ball club—Simms is a great player and (Head Coach) Karen (Barefoot) has done great things with the program,” Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “In the conference every single game you play is going to be a battle, and we understand that and know that. That is what competition is all about.”

The Lady Toppers jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in the first half, holding Old Dominion scoreless for the first 2:08 minutes of the game.  After the score was locked at 22-17 with 9:26 to play, the Lady Toppers held Old Dominion scoreless for 5:04 minutes while going on a 9-0 run.  The Lady Toppers got 19 points off of 11 turnovers in the first half.

The second half gave way to the senior duo of Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan.  Gooch had a team high 20 points in the game after shooting just 3-10 in the first half.  Govan finished with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block.

“When know that Chastity is always going to have a lot of attention towards her,” Clark-Heard said.  “Sometimes she is double teamed sometimes not. We just want out girls to keep their confidence, and we have been shooting the ball pretty well.”

Four Lady Toppers ended with double-digit points lead by Gooch’s 20.  Jones was right behind her with 18 and Govan with 17.  Rounding out the List is freshman Ileana Johnson with 11 points, shooting 4-7.

“We have a lot of veterans on our team with three seniors in the starting lineup,” Clark-Heard said. “I think that that helps a lot—they can continue to keep leadership on the floor even if it isn’t all veterans, and keep them in that mode to stay calm and play possession by possession.”

Old Dominions redshirt-sophomore forward Jennie Simms had a game-high 26 points, shooting 9-17. She also notched a team-high (tying game-high with Kendall Noble) eight rebounds and four assists.

“The staff and I have done a pretty good job preparing them and talking about the growth of our program. I don’t think the Top 25 thing has added any pressure, I think we are just continuing to build and make the program the best it can be. We talk to the girls about giving 100 percent every day, and we are just going about things as normal as we possibly can.”

The Lady Toppers return home on January 15 to take on Florida Atlantic (8-5, 2-0).  It will be WKU’s first home game since a December 21 win over Ball State and its first ever C-USA home showcase.  The Lady Toppers are yet to lose in E.A. Diddle Arena this season, and haven’t lost at home since a February 1, 2014 clash with Texas State.