Lady Toppers win Wright State Invitational

Elliott Pratt

The Lady Toppers will enter open Sun Belt Conference play with more wins than they totaled all of last season, and it’s only December.

WKU (10-2) swept the Wright State Invitational by defeating the host Raiders Wednesday afternoon and taking the crown against Florida A&M Friday.

The Lady Toppbers beat Wright State 84-67 and Florida A&M by the score of 71-57.

This marks the first invitational tournament win for WKU since 1997, when the Lady Toppers won the Cancun Shootout.

WKU has won ten games before the start of the new calendar year for the fifth time in school history. Coach Michelle Clark-Heard’s record of 10-2 ties for the best record through 12 games as a first year-coach at WKU with Julia Yeater, who also went 10-2 to start in 1976.

Sophomore forward Chastity Gooch continues to lead the nation in double-doubles, dropping 22 points and 15 rebounds on Wright State. The Franklin-Simpson native then posted 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds Friday against the Lady Rattlers.

WKU struggled early Friday against Florida A&M as the Lady Rattlers closed the first half out on a 9-0 run to take a 39-33 lead at halftime.

The Lady Toppers defensive play pulled through to open the second half of the tournament finale by not allowing a field goal from Florida A&M in the first ten minutes. The Lady Rattlers missed 12 consecutive shot attempts and turned the ball over six times in that time span.

As a result, WKU went on a 16-0 run, including a 90 percent shooting performance from the free throw line, to lead 51-42 at with 9:42 to play.

Florida A&M couldn’t piece together anything better than a 20-percent field goal shooting display as WKU went on to collect the Wright State Invitational title, the 16th in school history.

Gooch and sophomore guard Alexis Govan have led the way for the Lady Toppers to this point in scoring, but junior guard Bianca McGee is on pace to share the wealth.

The junior college transfer put up 17 points in the tournament finale against Florida A&M, and poured in 16 points against Wright State.

The Lady Toppers will begin Sun Belt play when they return home to Diddle Arena to host North Texas Dec. 29 at 4 p.m.