Noble the difference for WKU on Friday

WKU freshman guard Kendall Noble (12) tries to shoot around UALR guard Taylor Ford (2) and forward Keanna Keys (33) during the second half of WKU’s 66-62 win over the University of Arkansas Little Rock in the semifinal round of the Sun Belt Tournament Friday, March 14, 2014, at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, La. Noble led the Lady Toppers with 19 points for the night. (Mike Clark/HERALD)

Lucas Aulbach

NEW ORLEANS — Junior forward Chastity Gooch, the two-time Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year and WKU’s leading scorer, is the name that jumps out at teams on the scouting report. Friday, though, redshirt freshman guard Kendall Noble was a big reason the Lady Toppers will advance to Saturday’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship.

Noble filled up the stat sheet in Friday’s semifinal game against Arkansas-Little Rock, leading WKU in points (19) and assists (four) while pulling in four rebounds.

Her biggest points of the afternoon came with 32 seconds to go. With the Lady Toppers holding a two-point lead, she hit a lay-up as she was fouled and fell to the ground to give WKU a four-point lead. WKU would hold on to win 66-62.

Noble said even she was surprised when the shot went in.

“I don’t really know how it went in,” Noble said. “I just threw it up and got fouled and it went in, thank the Lord.”

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard called Noble WKU’s “silent assassin.”

“You look at her stat sheet and all the way across the line she always does everything,” Heard said. “She’s very good and deceptive at attacking at the basket. We were watching the way they were guarding and we just told her to make sure that she was aggressive. That’s what I talked to her about, to make sure she went to the basket. She makes those shots a lot.”