Bowling Green, Ky. — A 13-3 run to open the second half proved to be the spark the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team needed Sunday afternoon as it rolled to a 95-62 exhibition win over Lindsey Wilson College at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Lady Toppers shot 47.8 percent from the field from the game and put four players in double figures, led by Crystal Kelly’s game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds. Dominique Duck rode a strong first-half effort to a 20-point outing, while Kenzie Rich added 16 points and Hope Brown finished with 11 in her Lady Topper debut.
“We’re just really excited to be on the floor and playing against someone other than ourselves,” said Lady Topper head coach Mary Taylor Cowles. “I like the effort today, and how our new faces were able to contribute. They add a dimension to our team that I think will be a real positive this season.”
Lindsey Wilson’s only lead came at 2-0 after Terran Duncan scored the first basket of the game, but WKU would not lead by more than nine points until late in the opening half. Duck accounted for seven of the Lady Toppers’ first 11 points as she went on to lead all scorers with 16 points in the first 20 minutes. WKU’s lead grew to nine with a pair of Nadege Muna free throws made it 23-14 midway through the half, but Krystal Jackson — who led LWC on the afternoon with 25 points — scored six of the next seven for the Blue Raiders as they pulled within four with eight minutes to play in before intermission.
The lead was again four after a Jackson free throw made it 30-26, but a Kelly three-point play the next trip down the court extended the lead to seven and sparked a 7-1 run that gave WKU its first double-figure lead of the game when a Whitney Ballinger layup at the 2:50 mark made it 37-27. The teams swapped baskets down the stretch, but in the closing seconds, Ballinger blocked a shot by Kera Gibson and drove in for a layup as time expired to send the Lady Toppers to the locker room with a 49-36 lead.
Kelly finished the half with a double-double, posting 11 points and 12 rebounds — six of which were on the offensive end — in the first 20 minutes of action.
A layup by Rich on the opening possession of the second half got things rolling for WKU as it quickly saw the lead jump to 20 points on a Kelly jumper three minutes in. The Blue Raiders got no closer than 18 points the rest of the way as the lead hit 30 when a Brown jumper made it 84-54 with 6:09 to play. Amy McNear gave WKU its largest lead of the game at 95-61 with just over a minute remaining, but the Blue Raiders scored the final point to cut the final margin to 33.
The Lady Toppers will now prepare for their regular-season opener next Friday (Nov. 9) when they tip off against East Tennessee State in the opening round of the 2007 Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament at 6 p.m. (CST) at E.A. Diddle Arena.