The Lady Toppers (3-7), (2-2, C-USA) fell short on Thursday night’s game against Marshall (3-5), (2-4, C-USA) but managed to be victorious in Sunday’s game to split the series 1-1. 

WKU will continue its conference schedule against the Middle Tennessee State University Lady Blue Raiders this weekend at home.

The Lady Blue Raiders are one of the conference’s strongest teams as they currently sit at 7-3 overall and are 5-0 in Conference USA play. The Lady Blue Raiders currently sit at the second-highest spot in the eastern division of C-USA.

“It will take a team effort,” WKU head coach Greg Collins said when asked what it will take to play against MTSU. 

Redshirt junior Anastasia Hayes is the Lady Blue Raider’s best offensive player as she averages 28.3 points, 4.9 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game per season.

Hayes currently leads C-USA in overall scoring. The 5-foot-7 junior has scored as many as 35 points this season in a game against Lipscomb and has proven her ability to draw fouls to get to the free throw line. 

Hayes has gone to the free throw line 18 times in one game this season.

“She’s without a doubt one of the best two or three players in this conference,” Collins said. “We’ll have our hands full trying to guard her. It will probably take more than one person. Even then, we may have a hard time keeping her contained.”

WKU Junior Meral Abdelgawad also talked about the upcoming matchup against MTSU and what the team will need to do to contain Hayes.

“I think coach Collins will talk about that,” Abdelgawad said Sunday. “I think Hope [Sivori] will guard her.”

WKU senior and Senegal native Fatou Pouye is one of WKU’s top offensive players who average is 13.1 points per game. Pouye is ranked 18 places behind Hayes on the list of top scorers within C-USA.

WKU senior Raneem Elgedawy is another player of interest as she recently returned from her hometown of Cairo, Egypt to rejoin the Lady Toppers this season.

Elgedawy made her home debut on Jan. 14 against Marshall, where she dropped 17 points to give her 28 total double-doubles in her career. Elgedawy had 20 points and five rebounds against Marshall.

Abdelgawad will also be a potential performer as she dropped 16 points against Marshall on Sunday and had seven rebounds. Abdelgawad was the second highest scorer on the Lady Toppers behind Elgedawy.

The Lady Toppers will be hosting the Lady Blue Raiders in Diddle Arena on Friday and Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m.

Women’s basketball beat reporter Drew Toennies at drew.toennies900@topper. wku.edu. Follow him on Twitter @drew_toennies.

Drew Toennies is a junior from Nashville, TN. He is a journalism major with a minor in political science.