You couldn't script a better beginning of a basketball season for former Franklin-Simpson Lady Cat and senior Western Kentucky University Lady Topper All-American candidate Chastity Gooch.
Before the season, Gooch was named as Preseason Conference USA Player of the Year and last week, was named as Conference USA Player of the Week and was selected to the All-Tournament team of the Preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament. Last weekend she was named the Hofstra Thanksgiving Tournament's Most Valuable Player when she helped the Lady Toppers to win the weekend holiday tournament.
Gooch had 10 points and seven rebounds in their 69-64 victory over the previously unbeaten Tulane Green Wave. She has now scored in double figures in 28 straight games, a streak dating to Jan. 1, 2014 and it is the fifth longest streak for a Lady Topper player since the start of the 2000-2001 season.
In the championship game, she had 21 points and nine rebounds and was named the Most Valuable Player in a 70-65 overtime victory over the Hofstra Lady Pride. Gooch moved into 11th place on the Lady Toppers' career scoring list with 1,451 points, passing Brenda Chapman and Beth (Lane) Blanton on the list. It was Gooch's 72nd career game in double figures and her streak of double figure games is now at 29.
Western Kentucky improved to 5-2 overall on the season and has won 15 of its last 18 games, including 12 of its last 14 games during the regular season. The championship game was the Lady Toppers' second overtime game of the season and fourth under head coach Michelle Clark-Heard era. They are now 2-0 on the season in overtime games and are 3-1 under coach Clark-Heard. Western Kentucky is 35-14 all-time in overtime games.
Western Kentucky remained undefeated during in-season holiday events under Coach Clark-Heard with a record of 6-0, having
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won the Wright State Invitational in 2012-2013 with wins over Wright State, 84-67 on Dec.19, 2012 and Florida A&M, 71-57 on December 21st, 2012. Last season, they have wins over Belmont, 66-46 on Dec. 20 and Georgetown, 57-55 on Dec. 21 in the Puerto Rico Classic.
The Lady Toppers, who are ranked in the top five of mid-major basketball rankings in most publications, returns to action this week with back to back home games against the Ole Miss Lady Rebels from the Southeastern Conference on Thursday night at 7 p.m. and against the Alabama State Lady Hornets from the Southwestern Athletic Conference on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
1220 WFKN Franklin will join the Hilltopper/IMG Big Red Radio Network on Saturday for the afternoon game at E.A. Diddle Arena starting at 1:30 p.m. for the pre-game show and tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.