Bowling Green, Ky. — Kenzie Rich scored a game-high 22 points to lead for Lady Toppers in double figures as the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team picked up a 72-64 win over George Washington Friday evening at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The win moved the Lady Toppers to 2-1 on the year, while the Colonials dropped their first game of the season and fell to 2-1.
"We’re really excited to get this win, and I’m really pleased with the way we bounced back after Sunday’s loss," said Lady Topper head coach Mary Taylor Cowles. "I thought we were extremely focused, and our young ladies really let us coach them at both ends of the floor tonight. I’m really proud of this team and the way they took advantage of a great opportunity."
Tied 32-32 at intermission, the Lady Toppers shot 46.4 percent in the final 20 minutes. Jessica Adair gave GW a two-point lead with the first basket of the final period, but WKU scored the next seven points and never trailed again. In fact, Dominique Duck was able to push the advantage to a game-high 10 points (54-44) midway though the period.
George Washington refused to go away, however, cutting the lead down to three with still six minutes to play after a Antelia Parrish free throw. The Lady Toppers pushed the lead back out to seven on a Rich jumper with 2:57 remaining, but Parrish drained her only three of the game to cut the GW deficit down to four. After a Rich jumper stretched the lead to 66-60, the Lady Toppers were able to get turnovers and baskets on back-to-back possession — one by Rich and another from Amy McNear — to make it a 10-point game with 1:23 remaining to seal the victory.
WKU forced nine turnovers in the second half, scoring 11 points off those Colonial miscues. The Lady Toppers also got nine second-chance points in the final 20 minutes.
The Lady Toppers got a spark off the bench down in the post from freshman Jasmine Johnson — who scored eight points and went 4-for-4 from the field in the first 20 minutes. That included a bucket at the 12:20 mark that gave WKU a 16-8 lead, forcing George Washington to call a timeout.
The Colonials responded out of the break, however, using a 14-4 run to take a 22-20 lead on a Parrish jumper with 6:42 remaining before halftime. The Lady Toppers came right back with a three from Rich — one of three treys by the junior guard in the half — to regain a one-point lead.
After two straight buckets by Tiana Myers moved GW back in front by a pair, WKU scored six straight to take a 30-26 lead with 3:13 to go in the period. Johnson’s final basket of the half give the Lady Toppers a 32-28 lead with just over two minutes left in the half, but the Colonials scored the final four points of the period, including a layup by Jazmine Adair as time expired, to send the teams to the locker room knotted at 32-32 before WKU outscored George Washington by eight in the final period.
Rich finished 9-for-18 from the field, and hit four three pointers en route to her season-high scoring total. She also dished out a career-high seven assists and pulled down five rebounds in 34 minutes of action. Duck finished with 13 points and six rebounds, leaving her one point shy of 1,000 for her career. McNear, who picked up her fourth foul early in the second half, came back to score eight of her 12 points in the final 20 minutes, while also finishing with seven rebounds and four assists. Arnika Brown nearly posted her third double-double in as many games, posting 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Parrish and Jessica Adair each scored 13 points to pace GW.
The Lady Toppers will hit the road for the first time this season on Sunday when they visit Eastern Kentucky at 2 p.m. (CST).