WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: No rest for Lady Tops with early WNIT game

Michael Casagrande

When classes end Friday, almost all Western students will begin a nine-day stress-relieving break.

Not the Lady Toppers.

They will begin their second opportunity for postseason success tomorrow night when Cincinnati comes to Diddle Arena for the first round of the postseason WNIT.

The Lady Toppers hope to spend their spring break as they have the past four and a half months – on the hardwood.

Coach Mary Taylor Cowles said keying in on Cincinnati’s senior guard Valerie King will be a top priority.

“They are a really good outside shooting basketball team,” she said. “Valerie King, an outstanding two-guard on the perimeter, but overall, they shoot the ball extremely well.”

King, a three-time member of the All-Conference USA team has an opportunity to impact the NCAA record book tomorrow. She is two made 3-pointers away from tying Cornelia Gayden for third on the all-time NCAA Division I list.

Two Lady Toppers can also make history in the first round. Sophomore guard Tiffany Porter-Talbert needs 10 points to be the fourth Lady Topper to reach 900 career points in just two seasons.

Junior guard Leslie Logsdon needs three 3-pointers to break Kim Pehlke’s career 3-point record.

Despite losing in the Sun Belt Conference title game to Middle Tennessee State, Western is still feeling confident from winning nine of its past 11 games.

Porter-Talbert said Western is one of many teams that could be considered favorites in the tournament.

“Well, I think that we are,” the all-Sun Belt performer said. “I think every team might think that about themselves. You need to have a lot of confidence in yourself and your team, so I think we do have a lot of motivation.”

The Bearcats, who are making their seventh straight postseason appearance, also have a little momentum after losing in their conference tournament. They have won five of eight since going 4-11 in their previous 15 games.

Western had been enjoying increased fan support at home, but with spring break starting that may not continue.

Junior guard Camryn Whitaker said the number of students in attendance will not drop off too much.

“Well, we don’t have that many students anyways,” she said with a smirk.

Students who stay in town will still get free admission with their student IDs. Tickets range in price from $12 for Red Towel seats unclaimed by season ticket holders to $5 for children.

Reach Michael Casagrande at [email protected].