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No Rest For Olympic Gold Medalist Claire Donahue

Jan 9, 2015

There's no rest for the weary for WKU Olympic gold-medal winning swimmer Claire Donahue. She and her coach Bruce Marchionda are just back from the World Games, where she scored another medal, but her real goal is the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Joe Corcoran caught up with Claire and her coach about what her life's like now and what'll it be like for the next year and a half.

WKU

WKU’s all-time leading scorer is having his basketball jersey number retired later this month.

The school announced Thursday that Courtney Lee’s #32 jersey will be retired January 22 during WKU’s game against Texas-El Paso. Lee will become just the tenth person affiliated with the WKU men’s basketballteam to have his jersey retired, joining names such as coach E.A. Diddle, and players Jim McDaniels, Clem Haskins, and Darel Carrier.

Lee played at WKU from 2004-to-2008, scoring 2,238 career points—equaling McDaniels for the most points all time. The Indianapolis native led the Hilltoppers to an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance and 29-win season his senior year, while averaging over 20 points a game.

Lee was taken in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. He has played for five different teams, and currently averages 11 points a game for the Memphis Grizzlies.

For the second time in the last three seasons, the WKU football team will face Central Michigan in a bowl game.  The Toppers learned Sunday afternoon they’ll be playing in the Bahamas Bowl on Christmas Eve day.  Central Michigan beat WKU 24-21 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2012. 

WKU head coach Jeff Brohm says the matchup of 7-5 teams should make  for a competitive game.

“This is a great challenge for us, this is a team that beat us in the bowl game a couple years ago, so I know our players that’ve been here are looking forward to showing how far we’ve come since then,” said Brohm.  “But it will definitely be a challenge for us. But we’re happy to be play another game.  To play it in a setting like this against a good, solid football team is going to be fun for our guys.”

Game time is 11 a.m. CST on December 24th.  Because of finals week, the team will wait until Thursday to begin full preparations for the game.

Athletic Director Todd Stewart says WKU didn’t officially know it was in the Bahamas Bowl until Sunday afternoon.  But he says the process of making sure everyone on the team had a passport began several weeks ago.

“The conference told us we were one of the teams that was in line to possibly be in the Bahamas Bowl. And you really can’t wait until 10 days out or two weeks out to do all that. So we started a lot of that, and that process is well along,” said Stewart. 

Kevin Willis

Six Kentucky high school football champions are being crowned Friday and Saturday in Bowling Green.

Belfry of Pike County beat Louisville Central 14-7 in the class 3A title game. Belfry running back Austin Hatfield carried the ball 30 yards for 235 yards and a touchdown in the first of six championship games to beplayed at Houchens-L.T. Smith stadium.

Here is the rest of the lineup:

2A game between Louisville DeSales and Newport Central Catholic is underway.

5A game at 6:00 p.m.: Pulaski County vs. Graves County 

Saturday:

Murray St. Athletics

A college basketball rivalry dating back to 1932 continues Saturday between two Kentucky programs.

The WKU Hilltoppers travel west to take on the Murray State Racers for the 152nd time.

Both teams enter tomorrow’s game with .500 records. WKU is 3-3 and coming off wins against Bowling Green State and Saint Joseph’s. The Hilltoppers are led in scoring by senior guard T.J. Price, who is averaging 13 points a game, with senior forward George Fant leading the team in rebounding at 7 per contest.

You can read more about WKU’s 2014-15 season here.

Murray State is 4-4, and has been a tough home opponent for WKU in recent years. The Racers have won the last three meetings they’ve hosted against WKU, with the Toppers’ last win in Murray coming in 2004. If WKU is to win Saturday, they’ll likely have to contain the Racer’s star sophomore guard Cameron Payne, who was picked as the Ohio Valley Conference preseason player of the year.

After Saturday’s game in Murray, the Toppers have a week off for finals. Then they travel to Ole Miss Dec. 13, before hosting games against Chicago State Dec. 17, and the Louisville Cardinals Dec. 20.

Abbey Oldham

The nationally-ranked WKU volleyball team is heading to a familiar location for its first-round NCAA tournament match.

The #24 Lady Toppers take on Iowa State Friday in Champaign, Illinois—the fourth time since 2008 that WKU has played an NCAA tournament contest in that town. WKU is 30-5 on the season and won the Conference USA tournament last weekend.

WKU head coach Travis Hudson says Friday’s matchup with Iowa State comes at an extremely exciting—and stressful—time of year for his players, given that finals week begins next Monday at WKU.

WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty threw eight touchdown passes Friday, as the Hilltoppers won at previously undefeated Marshall.

Trailing by 10 points in the fourth quarter, the Thundering Herd rallied to tie the score with less than a minute in regulation.

After the game went into overtime, Marshall scored a touchdown on the team's opening possession. WKU responded with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Doughty to Jared Dangerfield, and then won the game on a successful two-point conversion. On the game's final play, Doughty rolled to his right and found Willie McNeal in the endzone for the winning score.

Hilltopper running back Leon Allen carried the ball 33 times for 237 yards and a touchdown, and Doughty completed 34 of 50 passes for 491 yards, in addition to his eight touchdowns.

WKU finishes its regular season with a 7-5 record, and now awaits to hear if the team will be invited to a postseason bowl game.

The WKU football team is entering its final regular season game with the chance to knock off an unbeaten team.

The Hilltoppers travel to Hungtington, West Virginia, for a Friday game against the Marshall Thundering Herd. Marshall is ranked 19th in the nation, and is looking to go 12-0 with a win against WKU.

Hilltopper Head Coach Jeff Brohm says he knows his time is a big underdog this week.

“We’re playing now with some confidence, and we’ve improved a bit every week. We understand that for this game, it’s going to take all three facets of the game to play their best. Our offense is going to have to play very well, obviously our defense is going to have to play very well, our special teams is going to have to not give up the big play and try to make a few big plays on its own.”

KFC Yum! Center

The Lady Hilltopper basketball team is set to play its fourth game in eight days.

And this time, state bragging rights are on the line.

WKU travels to the Louisville Tuesday to take on the #12 Lady Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center.

The Lady Toppers bring a 3-1 record into the game, including two wins in the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament. WKU lost the championship game to Mississippi State Sunday.

The game against the Lady Cards is a special one for WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard, who is a native of Louisville and was an assistant coach at U of L before coming to Bowling Green. Clark-Heard says she’s proud to see so many quality women’s basketball teams in the commonwealth.

“That’s the way we want it to be. Kentucky is known for basketball, and we want it to be known for women’s basketball just as much, across the board.”

WKU

The WKU volleyball team captured the Conference USA championship and the football team became bowl eligible this weekend. 

WKU volleyball beat Rice 3-2 to win the conference tournament championship on Sunday and now advances to the NCAA tournament. The team will find out when it will play next during the tournament selection show Nov. 30. 

The football team powered past UT-San Antonio 45-7 on Saturday at L.T. Smith Stadium.  With the win, the Toppers became bowl eligible for a fourth straight season.

Also, the women's basketball team appeared in the finals of the preseason Women's National Invite Tournament, but fell to Mississippi State 88-77 on Sunday afternoon in Starkville, Miss.

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