Lady Toppers begin league play with showdown against Middle

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With nonconference play behind it, Western Kentucky will open the Conference USA season inside E.A. Diddle Arena at 7 p.m. Thursday evening against Middle Tennessee.

The Lady Toppers (9-4) are seeking their fourth straight victory in the rivalry.

In its last time out, WKU closed its nonconference slate against Division II Lee University, picking up an 88-64 win Friday. Tashia Brown matched her season-high mark with 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting and Ivy Brown registered her seventh double-double of the year with 20 points and a season-best 15 boards.

Over the last three seasons, WKU holds a 4-1 record over Middle Tennessee and has won the last three meetings in the series inside Diddle Arena. The Blue Raiders own a 41-29 edge in the all-time series between the close rivals.

Middle Tennessee (8-5) is led by Abbey Sissom’s 14.6 points per game, with only Jess Louro (10) joining her in double figures. Louro is also the team’s leading rebounder at a 6.5 per game clip while Sissom has dished out a team-high 36 assists. The Blue Raiders have won their last two games, including a 62-57 win over Kentucky on Dec. 28.