HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Two of Conference USA's best teams will square off inside Reed Green Coliseum when Southern Miss plays host to No. 25 Western Kentucky at 6 p.m.
The Golden Eagles (13-5, 2-1 C-USA) last Friday night played in their home venue for the first time in exactly 30 days, the longest absence since 2011. An 11-6 deficit in the first set gave way to a resounding sweep over Marshall (25-18, 25-15, 25-16), a squad that had also swept its first two C-USA opponents. Kylie Grandy led the charge with 10 kills and no errors while adding a couple of service aces, keeping her in the league's top three.
Sarah Bell enters the match a close-second to WKU's Jessica Lucas for the conference lead in assists. Nationally, the two are No. 23 and 4, respectively, in that category. Bell is also up to 2,055 in her career, just 11 away from reaching Eri Kanazawa for ninth all-time at Southern Miss.
Stephany Purdue is now exactly 100 kills away from Tosha Barnicoat's school-record of 1,566, set back in 1999. Her 4.05 kills per set this year are third in C-USA and just behind WKU's Alyssa Cavanaugh.
The Golden Eagles do have freshman Catherine Repsher as their biggest block threat, ranking second in C-USA with 1.25 per set. She also accounted for all seven in the team's Friday sweep. It is also the only category in which WKU does not have anyone ranked.
Southern Miss holds a 3-2 double-double edge over WKU on the year in terms of players with four or more (Purdue - 4, Bell - 6, Grandy - 7).
Western Kentucky (16-2, 4-0 C-USA) will be the second ranked team Southern Miss has played this year, previously falling 3-1 to No. 25 Kansas State in the Arkansas Invitational back on Sept. 17. WKU has only fallen victim to Michigan State and Cal Poly. The squad has also knocked off Villanova, Arkansas State, Cincinnati and Pitt in non-conference play.
The Hilltoppers have won each of the last two meetings 3-1, and the only one before then was a Southern Miss win in Monroe, La., in 1988.
Fans can follow the game via Twitter, @SouthernMissVB, or by watching the live stats and stream on the team's schedule page.
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