Lady Toppers dominating Sun Belt play

WKU freshman guard Kendall Noble goes up for a basket against Troy senior forward Dominique Ross during the first half of their game at Diddle Arena, Wednesday, February 12th, 2014. The Lady Toppers lead 52-19 at half. (Ian Maule/HERALD)

Kyle Williams

For the first time since the 1984-85 season, the Lady Toppers have notched five-straight victories by at least 24 points and aim to make it six straight against Louisiana-Lafayette in Diddle Arena on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

A pre-game ceremony will be held for senior guards Chaney Means and Bianca McGee prior to Wednesday’s game for Senior Night.

A WKU (19-8, 11-5 Sun Belt Conference) win against ULL would mark the first six-game conference win streak in program history.

Over WKU’s current five-game victory run, the Lady Toppers have held a halftime lead of at least 21 in each game, which is a program record. In addition to its dominating offensive performance, WKU is forcing 20.4 turnovers per game during its hot streak.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard said that she’s excited for her group following WKU’s 94-70 win over UT-Arlington on Saturday.

“I’m just super proud of our group every day,” Heard said. “The starters come out and they set the tone. I talk to them a lot about just taking it one game at a time, and I’m just really proud of them because that’s what we’ve been doing. Playing with energy, playing hard, controlling the things we can control.

“I’m just happy for them that we’re doing the things that we’re doing right now and they’re able to enjoy some success.”

Less than a month ago, WKU was coming off a three-game losing spell, but since the Lady Topper’s first win of the streak on Feb. 12, they rank fourth nationally in points per game, fifth in field goal percentage and second in steals per game.

According to Heard, the team met after its third-straight loss to discuss a game plan moving forward.

“After that road swing and after those losses, we had to sit down and talk about the things we needed to do for us to get better,” Heard said. “…I kept talking about playing our best basketball in February and March, and right now, I believe we’re right there.”

One of the biggest surprises during WKU’s five-game streak has been the stellar play of redshirt freshman guard Kendall Noble, who is averaging 15.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 5 steals on 70 percent shooting in each of her last five games.

Since Feb. 12, Noble is tied for first nationally in steals per game and holds two of the 18 performances of 7 steals or more.

Following a 75-45 win over Texas State on Wednesday, Noble said getting the team involved is easier when she’s getting her hands in the passing lanes.

“It was a really big win,” Noble said. “I was just trying to be aggressive. Coach told me to come out aggressive…I got some steals and assists early and got my teammates involved and everyone played good tonight.”