No. 25 Lady Toppers remain undefeated in C-USA play

Freshman guard Ivy Brown (23) battles a Central Arkansas defender under the net during the second half of WKU’s Nov. 14 game against the Sugar Bears. Brown notched three points and four rebounds as the Lady Toppers defeated UAC 93-57. Nick Wagner/HERALD

Jonah Phillips

The No. 25 Lady Topper basketball team extended their win streak to 10 Thursday night against Charlotte, as they dished out their second straight Conference USA victory 76-61 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

WKU is now undefeated (2-0) in its inaugural C-USA campaign and improves to 12-2 overall.  The Lady Toppers haven’t lost a game since their November 25 clash with No. 6 Louisville.

“I’m excited for the team because we hit some adversity,” Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “They tied the ball game up, so we came out of the huddle and really started playing our defense. (Ileana Johnson) put heat on the ball all night and it was really good for us because it put pressure on the point guard.”

Senior Alexis Govan again spearheaded the Lady Topper attack, notching a game-high 24 points. Govan had a huge second half for WKU, notching 16 points and four of her nine rebounds.

“It is just about handling our business,” Govan said. “Every day Coach Heard is talking to us about stepping out on the court with something to prove and that is what we do.”

Fellow senior, All-American candidate Chastity Gooch managed another impressive night across the board, notching a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.  She was 2-2 from behind the arc and added two block and two steals on the evening.

Freshman Ivy Brown was 3-4 from behind the arc (all in the first half), attributing to the Lady Toppers total of 10 three pointers on the night. 

WKU jumped out to an early lead in the first half at 15-7, and held Charlotte scoreless for lengthy spells in the first half.  Though, the Lady Toppers would finish the first half holding just a 3-point lead over Charlotte at 39-36.  In the first half the Lady Toppers shot 47 percent from the field, 55 percent from behind the arc, outrebounded Charlotte 20-18, and lead in both second chance points with 10 and bench points with 15.  

The Lady Toppers made six 3-pointers in the first half, with three of them coming from a 3-4 effort from Freshman Ivy Brown. 

“This was just a great team effort,” Heard said. “In the first half Ivy Brown came off the bench and made three huge threes for us and Bria Gaines played great for us as well.  We always talk about team efforts and thats what tonight was.”

After the break, Charlotte tied the game at 46-46 with 16:05 left. Govan fired back with five straight points. Following another three from the 49ers, WKU  went on to hold the 49ers scoreless for 7:16 minutes. WKU went on an 11-0 run during the stretch during the Charlotte drought. 

 The Lady Toppers shot 50 percent from the field in the second half, but was lead to victory through tight defense.  Charlotte was held scoreless for 6:39 minutes between 14:06 7:25.  As a team Charlotte shot 21.6 percent from the field in the second half, netting just 8 attempts.

The Lady Toppers finish off their four-game road swing on Saturday against Old Dominion (8-5, 1-1) in Norfolk, Virginia.