Hilltoppers continue conference play in Charlotte double header

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Both the Lady and Fella Toppers are 1-0 to begin their tenure in Conference USA, and tonight, they’ll both look to not only continue their C-USA winning ways, but overall winning ways as well. Ray Harper’s squad will look to win their fourth straight and their eighth of their last 10 as they host the Charlotte 49ers, while Michelle Clark-Heard’s ladies will look for their 10th straight win in the Queen City (sorry, Cincinnatians).

In true southern fashion, we’ll start with the ladies first, and your Lady Hilltoppers are the 25th ranked team in the nation. Yes, a national ranking – a little number by their name on ESPN’s bottom line – is held by MCH’s squad, and its darn well deserved. The only losses the Lady Tops have to their credit this year are to the #1 team in the nation (Mississippi State) and a top 10 team (Louisville) and in the games they’ve won, they’ve done so decisively.

A win tonight would give WKU their 10th straight overall win and their 11th straight conference win (even more impressive would be that it’d have come across two different conferences) and, of course, a 2-0 C-USA mark to begin play in the league.

The key for the Lady Tops tonight, as it is every night, is to be paced by Chastity Gooch, who is averaging 17.9 points per game while shooting 53.6% from the floor and 40% from three point range. That, along with the continuing reemergence of Alexis Govan (not that she ever really went anywhere), who lead all scorers on Sunday against Marshall with 22 points, should put the 9ers on their heels defensively early and often. Govan is on an impressive scoring streak, having netted 17 or more points in seven straight games.

What makes the Lady Tops so dangerous is, even if Charlotte does slow down Gooch or Govan, is that there are a handful of other options – Micha Jones, Kendall Noble, heck even Ileana Johnson who has emerged can put up big numbers if needed. Anyone on the floor for MCH can beat you and that’s why they’re so good.

Charlotte is coming off a 57-66 loss to Old Dominion and are 4-9 overall up to this point in the year, but are riding a three game home winning streak. Lefty Webster is the offensive weapon of note for the 9ers, having scored a career high (well, she tied a career high) 21 points in the loss to ODU, and is averaging 13.2 points per game. Senior Hillary Sigmon is also averaging in the double figures, but only barely, with 10.1 per.

Here’s the lineup you’ll most likely see on the floor for MCH and WKU:

Micah Jones – G
Kendall Noble – G
Ileana Johnson – G
Alexis Govan – G/F
Chastity Gooch – F

The ball will be tipped at six, and hopefully the Lady Tops being ranked will give them a little extra motivation to make sure they leave Charlotte with a W.

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