The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team will host an opening-round game next season in the Preseason Women’s NIT on Nov. 14 at E.A. Diddle Arena, the program announced this morning.
“This is a major honor for our program to be selected to be a host for an opening game in the 2014 Preseason Women’s NIT,” coach Michelle Clark-Heard said in a news release. “Not only being in the tournament, but having the chance to be one of the few schools to host is a sign of the national respect that our program has garnered in the women’s basketball world. I am so excited for our team and our fan base to have the chance to have this event in E.A. Diddle Arena.
“We know that the Bowling Green community will embrace the chance to have this tournament start here in Diddle and come out in full force to help our team keep winning and have the chance to keep hosting in the tournament as we look to start a new season like we closed out our last one: with a championship.”
This will be WKU’s fourth appearance in the Preseason WNIT. The Lady Tops are 6-3 all-time in the event, including 4-0 at Diddle Arena.
WKU last participated in the tournament in the 2007-08 season, beating East Tennessee State and Evansville at home before falling on the road to Notre Dame.
Participating teams are guaranteed three games in the event. Locations for games after the first round will be announced once the openers are complete.
Louisville beat Oklahoma in last year’s final in front of more than 7,500 fans in Norman, Okla. Other teams in that field included LSU and Gonzaga.
The rest of the 2014 field and bracket will be released in the coming months.
Brown, Smith make Kentucky All-Stars
In other news, future Lady Tops Ivy Brown and Shalika Smith were named today to the girls’ senior Kentucky All-Star team that will face Indiana in a two-game series this summer.
Brown, a 6-2 guard from LaRue County, automatically earned a spot on the team and the No. 1 jersey after being named Kentucky Miss Basketball last month. She averaged 24.4 points and 12.6 rebounds as a senior.
Smith, a 6-1 center from Glasgow High School, averaged 15.4 points and 9.5 rebounds as she helped the Lady Scotties reach the state tournament.
The boys’ senior roster also has a few local connections. Warren Central senior forward Chris Porter-Bunton, who picked up offers from Austin Peay and Jacksonville State this week, made the team, as did WKU signees Justin Johnson and Jordan Green.
Kentucky will face Indiana on June 13 at Transylvania University’s Beck Center in Lexington and on June 14 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.