Lady Toppers to play for NIT title Sunday
By Robert Sampson

Posted on November 22, 2014 9:02 PM

Following an impressive three-game stretch to open the season, WKU faces Mississippi State in the Championship Game of the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT looking to claim the school’s first Preseason Women’s NIT title. The Lady Toppers advanced to the finals by beating Central Arkansas (93-57), Colorado (79-78 in overtime) and Albany (63-54). Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CT on Sunday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi State University. 

The championship game will air live on CBS Sports Network at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 23. CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. Thad Anderson (play-by-play) and Curt Miller (analyst) will be calling the game. Miller spent 13 years as an NCAA DI head coach compiling a 290-124 over­all record and earning six conference Coach of the Year awards. An­derson has called play-by-play for the WNIT since 2007 and currently calls games for ESPN, CBS Sports Network, and the Pac 12 Network.

The game can also be heard live on ESPN 102.7 FM and 1450 AM in the Bowling Green area and worldwide via and the TuneIn app with Barry Williams (play-by-play) on the call.

WKU (3-0) is the first program to reach the finals of the Preseason Women’s NIT from a mid-major conference since 2000 when Louisiana Tech beat Purdue 68-63 in the finals of the tournament. WKU is also 3-0 to start the season for the second time in three seasons and for the 13th time in the modern history of the program. It is just the fourth time in the last 16 years that a WKU team has opened the season 3-0, two of those coming under head coach Michelle Clark-Heard in her three years at WKU.

Senior All-American candidate Chastity Gooch of Franklin leads the Lady Toppers in scoring at 19.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Gooch, a WBCA All-American honorable mention selection a year ago and the 2014-15 Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year, posted a 30-point, 11-rebound performance at Colorado while putting up 14 points and six rebounds against Albany in the tournament semifinals.

Redshirt sophomore Kendall Noble has been impressive in the early going of the season, continuing her versatile ways that made her one of the nation’s premier freshmen a year ago. Noble currently is averaging 12.7 points and 12.0 rebounds while having compiled 14 assists and 14 steals in three games.  

The matchup with Mississippi State (3-0) will be the second in the series as WKU beat the Bulldogs 56-53 in the 2007 Postseason Women’s NIT in E.A. Diddle Arena. WKU is looking for its first win over an SEC foe since the 2008-09 season when WKU beat Kentucky 66-57 in Bowling Green, on Dec. 4, 2008.

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