WKU Women’s Basketball: Lady Tops announce 2018-2019 C-USA slate

 WKU Lady Topper Basketball will face a 16-game slate in regular season C-USA action, including eight matchups inside E.A. Diddle Arena, in the upcoming 2018-19 season as announced by the conference office on Friday morning.

Under first-year Head Coach Greg Collins, the two-time defending C-USA Tournament champions are set to open conference play inside Diddle Arena on Thursday, Jan. 3 against Charlotte. As has been the case since WKU became a member of the league in 2014-15, C-USA league matchups will be played primarily on Thursdays and Saturdays.

After opening their C-USA slate against Charlotte, the Lady Toppers will also welcome Old Dominion to Diddle Arena on Jan. 5 to close out the opening week of action. The Lady Monarchs are coached by former WKU assistant Nikki McCray-Pinson and are a longtime rival of the Lady Toppers dating back to the squads’ bouts in the Sun Belt in the 1980s; WKU has claimed all eight meetings against Old Dominion since joining C-USA.

Following a bye from Thursday action on Jan. 10, WKU will square off against travel partner Marshall in the first of two meetings before a return trip to Huntington, W. Va., on Feb. 23. Last season, WKU earned two wins over the Thundering Herd and is 10-1 in the all-time series.

On Jan. 17 and 19, the Lady Toppers will make the Florida swing to battle FIU and Florida Atlantic on the road for the first time since 2015-16; WKU is a combined 8-0 against the Panthers and Owls during its time in C-USA. Following that trip, WKU will be back inside Diddle Arena to host Southern Miss (Jan. 24) and Louisiana Tech (Jan. 26). The Lady Toppers defeated Southern Miss in the 2015 and 2017 C-USA Tournament title games and has won six straight in the series against the Lady Techsters.

WKU will make the UTSA-UTEP road swing for the third time as a C-USA member on Jan. 31 and Feb. 2 and will be seeking its first sweep of that trip. In both 2015 and 2017, the Lady Toppers picked up road wins at UTEP but fell in tight battles at UTSA; the Roadrunners are the only C-USA team that WKU has not defeated on the road as a league member.

Rice (Feb. 7) and North Texas (Feb. 9) are up next inside Diddle Arena for the Lady Toppers before a critical road trip to archrival Middle Tennessee (Feb. 14) and 2017-18 regular season champion UAB (Feb. 16). WKU is riding its longest winning streak over the Blue Raiders (five straight wins) since winning nine straight in the series from 1983-98, and the Lady Toppers defeated UAB, 72-57, to claim the 2018 C-USA Tournament championship.

For the final week of play, WKU will travel to North Texas (March 2) before hosting Middle Tennessee in its regular season finale on March 7.

The 2019 C-USA Tournament will be held at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, for the second straight season from March 13-16. WKU will look to claim its fourth conference tournament title in five seasons as a member of the league after previously earning top honors in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Last season, WKU put together a 12-4 record in C-USA action and a 24-9 mark overall, finishing second in the league standings before stringing together three double-digit victories to claim the C-USA Tournament title. Since joining the league in 2014-15, the Lady Toppers own a 59-11 mark against C-USA foes in the regular season and have been seeded no lower than third for the conference tournament.

WKU has previously announced that its regular season non-conference opener will be played inside Diddle Arena against 2018 Final Four participant and in-state rival Louisville on Nov. 6. The Lady Toppers will release their full non-conference slate in the coming weeks.