After back-to-back conference road wins at Louisiana-Monroe and Troy, the Lady Toppers will return home to face a tough challenge out of the Southeastern Conference.
The Vanderbilt Commodores will enter Diddle Arena Tuesday night at 7.
Coach Michelle Clark-Heard realizes that Vanderbilt may be the toughest non-conference team the Lady Toppers face this year.
“They were in the top 25. They’ve got kids that can shoot it,” Heard said. “They love to get up the floor in transition, and they have a big-time player in (Tiffany) Clarke, who is hard to guard. She can face up and get to the basket, and their point guard, Lister, is one that we’re going to have to stop.
Clarke, a senior forward for the Commodores, ranks second in the SEC, shooting almost 58 percent from the field, and averages 14.5 points per game.
WKU comes out of Troy looking to have Alexis Govan and Chastity Gooch continuing their stellar play into Diddle Tuesday night.
The tandem combined for 57 of the Lady Toppers 84 points against the Trojans — 32 from Govan, and 25 courtesy of Gooch.
Gooch has earned double-doubles in all six game the Lady Toppers have played, a statistic good enough for a sixth place spot in the nation while averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Govan sits at 34th in the country in free throws at a 91 percent rate.
The duo’s dynamic will to continue to improve is “incredible”, Heard said.
“They don’t just watch film with me, they watch it with the assistant coaches,” Heard said. “Alexis watches when she turns the ball over. Chastity watches with me so I can show how she can help this team defensively. They’ve committed to what we want to do here, and I’m happy they’ve had success early.”
This will be the 33rd meeting between the two schools with Vanderbilt leading the series 20-12. The last meeting between WKU and Vanderbilt occurred in 2010 where the Commodores throttled the Lady Toppers 74-48 in Nashville.
Heard said the Vanderbilt game will show where the Lady Toppers really are at this point in the year.
“The biggest thing I want is for our team to compete,” Heard said. “I want to see the level where we’re at right now and where we have to go.”