Lady Tops Get Sun Belt Honors

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Western Kentucky University junior Chastity Gooch was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season while freshman Kendall Noble was named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, the league office announced Tuesday. In addition, Gooch was named a First Team All-Conference selection, Noble a Second Team selection and sophomore guard Micah Jones a Third Team All-Conference selection in a survey of the leagues’ coaches and media members.

It marks the first time since 2004-05 that WKU has had three players selected as All-Conference selections. Crystal Kelly, Tiffany Porter-Talbert and Leslie Logsdon were All-Conference selections for WKU in 2004-05. It is just the 10th time in program history that WKU has had three All-Conference selections in the same year and just the third time it has happened in the last 14 seasons.

“I am super proud of all three of these honorees and our entire team for really buying into everything we are trying to accomplish,” said head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “Chastity (Gooch), Kendall (Noble) and Micah (Jones) have all stepped up their play during the Sun Belt Conference season and I am excited for them that the coaches around the league and the media took notice of their efforts with these recognitions. Each of our players has had to take their game to another level in facing the challenges that have presented themselves to us this year and I am proud of the way they continue to respond.”

Gooch earned Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season, becoming just the second player in league history to win the award in back-to-back seasons. Gooch is the only Lady Topper player to win the award in program history. The honor was first awarded in 1996-97.

Gooch averaged 17.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season while piling up over 40 assists, blocks and steals. It was in league play that Gooch shined the most, posting 19.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest in the absence of preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Alexis Govan due to injury. In league play, Gooch finished second in the league in blocks and 10th in steals. She also finished league play ranked second in scoring and fifth in rebounding.

Gooch was also a First Team All-Conference selection in 2012-13 as a sophomore and a preseason First Team All-Conference selection in 2013-14. She was also a three-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week honoree this season, claiming the award on Nov. 19, Jan. 6 and Jan. 27. She now owns four league Player of the Week honors in her career.

Noble is WKU’s first Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year honoree since 2007-08 when Arnika Brown claimed the honor. She is the fifth player in program history to claim the award, joining Kristina Covington (1998-99), Tiffany Porter-Talbert (2002-03), Crystal Kelly (2004-05) and Brown (2007-08) as Freshman of the Year honorees from WKU. The award was first presented in 1991-92.

Noble also becomes just the fourth player in program history to earn All-Conference honors as a freshman. She joins Lady Topper greats Kami Thomas (1982-83), Clemette Haskins (1983-84) and Crystal Kelly (2004-05) as the only Lady Toppers to earn the honor as freshmen. She is just the sixth freshman to earn All-Conference honors in the Sun Belt Conference in the last nine seasons and the 21st all-time.

Noble flourished in conference play for the Lady Toppers this year, coming off multiple injuries that has limited her play over the last two years. Noble averaged 14.1 points and 5.5 rebounds in league games, piling up an astounding 68 assists and 58 steals in just 18 conference games. Noble finished league play ranked seventh in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring, first in steals, third in assists, and first in assist-to-turnover ratio. Despite averaging just 2.9 points over her first 10 appearances of the season in 13.1 minutes of play per contest, Noble finished the season with an average of 10.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Noble also earned Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week honors from the league on Feb. 17. This is her first postseason honor from the league.

Jones saw drastic improvement in her play from a year ago, helping her earn third team All-Conference honors. Jones increased her scoring average by 4.6 points and increased her shooting percentage by .124 and three-point shooting percentage by .115 after being challenged by the coaching staff in the offseason to be the best shooter in the conference.

Jones finished the year ranked third in free throw percentage and third in three-point field goal percentage. She ranked 20th in scoring and 12th in overall field goal percentage despite playing from the guard position. She finished league play with a .462 clip from behind the three-point arc, the best in league play, after hitting 36-of-78 shots from behind the three-point arc.

It is the first career All-Conference honor for Jones.

WKU opens conference tournament play against Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday, March 12 at 6:00 p.m. CT in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Championships at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, La. Tickets for the 2014 Men's and Women's Sun Belt Basketball Tournament are also on sale through the WKU Ticket Office. Each ticket book contains eight tickets. There are a total of eight sessions, with sessions 1-6 including two games and session seven being the Women's Championship and session eight being the Men's Championship. The ticket price is $99 and seats are general admission.


First Team All-SBC
Aundrea Gamble (Arkansas State, RS-So., G)
Chastity Gooch (WKU, Jr., F)
Joanna Harden (Troy, Sr., G)
Taylor Gault (UALR, Jr., G)
Ashleigh Simmons (UL Monroe, Sr., F)

Second Team All-SBC
Jane Morrill (Arkansas State, Sr., F)
Ashley Ezeh (Texas State, Sr., C)
Desherra Nwanguma (UT Arlington, Sr., C)
Kendall Noble (WKU, Fr., G)
Ashley Beverly-Kelley (Troy, So., G)

Third Team All-SBC
Kendra Long (Georgia State, Sr., G)
Taylor Ford (UALR, Sr., G)
Brooklyn Arceneaux (UL Lafayette, So., G)
Meghan Dunn (South Alabama, Sr., G)
Micah Jones (WKU, So., G)

2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year
Aundrea Gamble (Arkansas State, RS-So., G)

2014 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year
Chastity Gooch (WKU, Jr., F)

2014 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year
Kendall Noble (WKU, Fr., G)

2014 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year
Brian Boyer, Arkansas State

HOW TO FOLLOW THE LADY TOPPERS: For complete information on Lady Topper Basketball, visit, follow the program on Instagram via “LadyTopperHoops” or follow the program on Twitter via @LadyTopperHoops. The official twitter hashtag of the 2013-14 season for Lady Topper Basketball is #ClimbingTheLadder.

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