The Western Kentucky University Lady Toppers are riding a 13-game winning streak after back-to-back impressive home Conference USA games last week.
Their winning streak is the longest streak since a 13-game streak during the 2005-2006 season. The 13-game streak is the longest during the era of head coach Michelle Clark-Heard, surpassing the 10-game winning streak that they had when they entered the women's NCAA Tournament last season.
It is the seventh time in program history that they have put together a 13-game or better streak. They will look for their first 14-game or better streak since the 2002-2003 season when they return to action on the road on Thursday night. Western Kentucky has just four streaks in program history of 14 consecutive wins or better. The school record is a 21-game streak during the 1990-1991 season.
Last Thursday morning in front of their largest crowd of the season of 4,733 for Spread The Education Day, the Lady Toppers held the Florida Atlantic Owls without a point in the opening 5:54 of the game to go up 21-0. The Lady Owls were without a field goal in the opening 6:28, falling behind 25-3, as the Lady Toppers cruised to a 80-43 victory. Western Kentucky got points from five players during the 21-0 spurt to open the game, including eight from senior All-American candidate Alexis Govan, as she finished the game with 17 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two assists in just 22 minutes of play.
Former Franklin-Simpson Lady Cat and senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch played just 15 minutes in the game after suffering a cut near her lip in the first half that required stitches. She left the game with 12:56 remaining in the first half after taking a charge and getting hit in the mouth. She didn't return until the 16:41 mark of the second half, leaving the Lady Toppers to figure out how to play without their superstar.
Gooch had four points in six minutes in the first half before returning to finish with eight points in 15 minutes of play. The eight points scored by Gooch snapped her 38 game consecutive double figure scoring streak, but brought her career scoring total to 1,622, leaving her just 20 points from passing Natalie Powers for ninth most in the program's history. She grabbed two rebounds and needs 24 more to pass Tiffany Porter-Talbert, who has 995 rebounds, for the fifth most rebounds in WKU history.
Senior Ileana Johnson added 13 points, recording her first consecutive double figure games of her career, while redshirt sophomore Kendall Noble added 12 points
Michelle Clark-Heard also reached a major milestone in the win, as she recorded her 150th win of her career as part of the Lady Topper basketball program. Clark-Heard won 89 games as a player and has won 61 games as the head coach of the Lady Toppers in three seasons.
Last Saturday afternoon, Western Kentucky defeated the Florida International Panthers 81-42 as Kendall Noble scored a game-high of 17 points, while Chastity Gooch and freshman Tashia Brown scored 12 points each. Gooch's 12 points brought her career scoring total to 1,634, leaving her eight points away from passing Natalie Powers for ninth most in the program's history. She grabbed five rebounds, and needs 19 more to pass Tiffany Porter-Talbert, who has 995 rebounds, for the fifth most rebounds for her career.
Junior Micah Jones scored 11 points and Alexis
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Govan added 10 points as the Lady Toppers held a 54-14 advantage in points scored in the paint and forced 23 Florida International turnovers, leading to 22 points.
Overall, Western Kentucky is 16-2 or better through 18 games for the fourth time in program history and for the first time since 1994-1995 when the Lady Toppers were 17-1. The Lady Toppers have won their last 11 games by double digits. It is the third longest such streak in program history and the first streak of at least 10 games since the 1994-1995 season when they had a 12 game winning streak. The school record is a 16-game winning streak during the 1985-1986 season.
The wins continued an impressive display of basketball that the Lady Toppers have put together at home this season. The Lady Toppers are 8-0 in E.A. Diddle Arena this season, and have won their last 12 home games at E.A. Diddle Arena, the longest streak of Clark-Heard. The 12-game home winning streak is tied for the 12th longest in program history and the longest since a 16-game winning streak during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.
The Lady Toppers return to action on Thursday night for a two game Texas road swing. They will face the University of Texas-El Paso Lady Miners this Thursday night at 8 p.m. in El Paso, Texas before traveling to San Antonio, Texas to face the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. 1220 WFKN Franklin radio will join the Hilltopper/IMG Big Red Radio network for the broadcast of the game starting with the pregame show at 1:30 p.m.