Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- After a thrilling comeback win at Miami (Ohio) on Thursday evening, WKU will be back in action for the second round of the 2019 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. as the Lady Toppers welcome in-state foe Morehead State to E.A. Diddle Arena with a trip to the Round of 16 on the line.
All WKU students will receive free admission with their student ID, and the first 250 students in attendance for Sunday’s clash will be treated to free pizza. Tickets can be purchased prior to the game at WKUTickets.com or by phone at 1-800-5-BIGRED and will also be available at the gate on Sunday afternoon.
The Lady Toppers trailed by 11 points twice on Thursday, including early in the third quarter, before outscoring the RedHawks 24-12 in the frame. Dee Givens scored 13 of her 20 points in the third quarter as WKU surged to the 67-63 win to set up Sunday’s home tilt.
With a win on Sunday, WKU would advance to the Round of 16 and square off against the winner of the Ohio-Middle Tennessee matchup between March 27-29. A finalized date, location and time for that game will not be set until the two participants are confirmed.
All-C-USA First Teamer Dee Givens leads WKU into the second round with 17.7 points per game and is joined in double figures by Second Teamer Raneem Elgedawy (15.8) and Alexis Brewer (11.0). Elgedawy is the team’s leading rebounder at 7.7 boards per contest, and Whitney Creech has dished out a team high 106 assists compared to only 47 turnovers this year.
Miranda Crockett leads a trio of Morehead State players in double figures at 18.1 points per game, joined by Aliyah Jeune (16.0) and McKenzie Calvert (12.9).
GAME #34 – WKU VS. MOREHEAD STATE
WKU (19-14, 11-5 C-USA) vs. Morehead State (24-10, 13-5 OVC)
March 24, 2019 | 2:00 p.m. (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. | E.A. Diddle Arena (7,523)
- WKU has a 17-13 all-time record in the WNIT and made a run to the 2016 quarterfinals in its most recent appearance, defeating Dayton and UT Martin at home and Saint Louis on the road in overtime before falling at eventual champion South Dakota.
- Thursday’s win marked the second time this season that the Lady Toppers have rallied from a double-digit deficit to win after also doing so at UTEP on Feb. 2 after trailing by 12 points. Since Greg Collins arrived on staff prior to the 2012-13 campaign, WKU has collected 20 total victories when trailing by double digits at any point during the game.
- Thursday’s double-digit comeback was WKU’s third in its last four WNIT matchups. In 2016, the Lady Toppers trailed by 12 against UT Martin and 11 at Saint Louis before winning both contests.
- Dee Givens has moved into sixth place in single-season scoring by a junior in Lady Topper history with 583 total points this season. The Lexington, Ky., native would move into the top five with 11 more points in Sunday’s matchup.
- Of its 30 games in the Postseason WNIT, WKU has played 15 inside the friendly confines of Diddle Arena. In those 15 games, WKU holds a 12-3 overall record and has won eight of its last nine games in the event on its home floor.
- Sunday’s tilt will be WKU’s first against another Kentucky opponent besides Louisville since traveling to Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 30, 2016. The Lady Toppers own a 22-10 all-time lead in the series against the Eagles, including 16 straight wins dating back to Feb. 6, 1982. In the most recent matchup, WKU earned a 65-52 win inside Diddle Arena on Dec. 1, 2013.
- Sunday’s game is the latest into a season that the Lady Toppers have hosted an opponent inside Diddle Arena since the 2006-07 campaign. That year, WKU hosted Hofstra in the quarterfinals of the WNIT on March 25.
- Over her last eight games, Alexis Brewer is averaging 13.1 points per game, well above her season average of 11.0, and has scored in double figures in six of those eight outings. Brewer led the team in scoring during the C-USA Tournament, totaling 28 points across WKU’s pair of games in Frisco, and was one of only two Lady Toppers to hit multiple three-pointers in the event.
- With her 23-point performance at Marshall on Feb. 23, Dee Givens became the 40th member of Lady Topper Basketball’s 1,000-point club and now has 1,097 points for her career. Givens became the seventh player to join the club since Greg Collins has been on staff in 2012-13, joining Chastity Gooch, Alexis Govan, Kendall Noble, Micah Jones, Tashia Brown and Ivy Brown.
- WKU’s 69-66 overtime win at Marshall on Feb. 23 was its first in extra time since defeating Kent State, 79-73, in overtime on Nov. 26, 2016. The overtime win was also WKU’s first in a true road game since its WNIT victory at Saint Louis on March 25, 2016, that ended on Sidnee Bopp’s left corner buzzer-beater.
- Among the 23 first-time Division I head coaches this season, Greg Collins is currently third with his 19 victories, trailing only Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen and Northern Colorado’s Jenny Huth. More impressively, no other team under a first-time head coach is averaging more points per game than the Lady Toppers, who are scoring at a 73.0 per game clip.
- WKU has enjoyed one of its best shooting seasons in recent memory and has hit the 50 percent mark from the floor in 14 games already this season. The Lady Toppers shot 50 percent or better in six straight games from Dec. 29 through Jan. 19, its longest such streak since at least the 1987-88 campaign. Since Greg Collins has been on The Hill in 2012-13, WKU is 37-4 when shooting 50 percent or better.
- Dee Givens and Raneem Elgedawy have twice combined for more than 50 points this season, forming a strong scoring duo for the Lady Toppers. At FIU, the pair combined for 59 points as both had career-high performances, and the two also combined for 53 points at UTEP as the Lady Topper engineering a 12-point come-from-behind victory over the Miners.
- Through 33 games, the Lady Toppers are on pace to finish second in school history for three-pointers made in a single season. WKU has knocked down 201 triples this season and is chasing the record of 242 set in 2016-17. WKU’s 201 makes has given the Lady Toppers more than 200 three-pointers in a single year for just the second time in school history.
- WKU has captured 32 road victories in C-USA play since joining the conference in 2014-15 and has unquestionably been one of the toughest teams to face both at home and away. WKU’s 32 road wins are more than all but one C-USA school (Middle Tennessee) have won on their own home courts against other C-USA opponents over the last five years.
- Over its first five seasons as a member of Conference USA, WKU owns a 71-17 mark against the rest of the league since joining and posted an 11-5 record this season.
- This season, WKU’s defense has limited its opponents to fewer than 70 points on 19 occasions, coming away with a win in all but three of those games. Over the last three seasons dating back to 2016-17, the Lady Toppers have posted a 59-6 record when holding their opponents under 70 points, including a perfect 34-0 mark when limiting them to fewer than 60 points.
- Dee Givens has 96 total steals, an average of 2.9 per game, this season, a number that ranks 13th among all qualifying Division I players. Givens’ 96 steals is also the top mark among all C-USA players. Givens had her second game of the season with eight steals at North Texas on March 2 and is one of only seven Division I players (and the only C-USA player) this season with multiple games of eight or more steals.
- Despite having her streak of 38 consecutive made free throws snapped against Ball State, Dee Givens has enjoyed a strong season from the charity stripe. Givens’ .856 (149-of-174) percentage ranks fourth in single-season history for the Lady Toppers, trailing only Natalie Powers (.874), Laurie Townsend (.869) and Ivy Brown (.857).
- Under Greg Collins, WKU has featured a revamped, fast-paced offensive attack this season and is averaging 73.0 points per game through 33 contests. Should WKU average at least 75 points per game this season, the Lady Toppers will have hit that mark in four of the five most recent seasons after previously not doing so since 2004-05.
- WKU’s defense has pressured all but one of its 33 opponents into double-digit turnovers thus far on the season. Through 33 games, the Lady Toppers have forced an average of 17.1 turnovers per game to open the 2018-19 season.
- Through 33 games, Raneem Elgedawy and Meral Abdelgawad have combined to score 800 of WKU’s 2,409 points, just under a third of the team’s total. In addition to their scoring, the duo has combined for 334 rebounds, also just under a third of the team’s total of 1,050.
- Despite its rally falling just short at Oklahoma on Nov. 10, WKU scored its most points in a single quarter since moving to the system in 2015-16, netting 35 points in the fourth frame against the Sooners. The 35 points were WKU’s most since setting the previous record of 33 points in the fourth quarter against Dayton in the WNIT on March 17, 2016.
- The Lady Toppers were picked fourth in the preseason C-USA coaches’ poll and met or exceeded their preseason expectations for the third straight season. In 2016-17, WKU won the regular season title after being picked first, and the Lady Toppers finished second after being picked second last season. This year, the Lady Toppers finished in a tie for third place.
- WKU put together an 9-6 record inside Diddle Arena this season and has posted an 83-18 record inside the friendly confines of its home arena since Greg Collins has been with the program in 2012-13.
- WKU enters the 2018-19 season having had only five international letterwinners in program history, including sophomore Raneem Elgedawy. This year, the Lady Toppers will sport three international student-athletes on the roster, with Arame Niang and Meral Abdelgawad joining Elgedawy on The Hill.
- In its four seasons as a C-USA member, WKU has claimed a pair of regular season titles and has won the conference tournament three times, including back-to-back wins in both 2017 and 2018. WKU is only the second school in C-USA history to claim back-to-back tournament titles as a league member, joining former member Tulane, who won three straight from 1999-2001.
- In each of Greg Collins’ six previous years on WKU’s bench, the Lady Toppers have had 20 or more victories, with the team looking to extend that streak in 2018-19. WKU’s current streak of six 20-win seasons is its second-longest in program history, trailing only seven straight from 1982-83 to 1988-89 during the Paul Sanderford era. In WKU’s modern era (since 1973-74), five of the 10 head coaches have captured 20-win seasons in their debut years on The Hill, most recently with Michelle Clark-Heard’s 22 wins in 2012-13.