Lady Toppers head to Murray for opener

Freshman Mariah Sunkett pushes past Hardin players to retrieve a dropped ball. Sunkett scored 10 points during the game.

Elliott Pratt

WKU showed exciting potential in a 96-64 exhibition win against Harding last week.

As the team prepares for its regular season opener at Murray State Friday, coach Michelle Clark-Heard said she’s looking for more consistency.

Guarding the ball and attacking the glass are especially big keys for the guard-heavy team, Heard said.

Sophomore guard Danay Fothergill said the team took a lot of things from the exhibition game in preparation for Murray State, with the emphasis remaining on defense.

“We gave up 64 points, and that’s something we know we can’t have,” Fothergill said. “We learned a lot about pressure defense and some of the little things we have to get done.”

The Racers return four of last year’s starters to the line-up, bringing back five other players, including two junior college transfers.

If the Lady Toppers want to shut down the Murray State three-point attack, they’ll have to guard Senior Guard Mariah Robinson.

Robinson, named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference preseason team, ranks second on the school’s career three-point list with 174. She averaged 14 points per game and 4.5 rebounds in the Racers 2011-2012 campaign.

They’ll also have to deal with the size of 6-foot-4 junior college transfer junior Netanya Jackson.

Freshman guard Micah Jones said size difference could present the biggest challenge for the Lady Toppers, but they’re prepared for it.

“They have quite a bit of size, but I think we can handle that if we block out and play good defense,” Jones said. “We worked on different defensive sets this week that will help us. They shoot quick, so we don’t want to give them any second chance points.”

WKU has won 12 straight in the series and holds a 33-10 all-time record against the Racers. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.