Bowling Green, Ky. — After dropping their previous two games, the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team went into the Christmas break with some momentum as they earned their first Sun Belt Conference win of the season with a 75-66 win over Troy Monday night at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The win improved the Lady Toppers to 7-4 overall and 1-1 in the Sun Belt, while Troy fell to 3-7 and 0-2 in the league.
"It definitely feels good to be back on the winning track. We really felt like we needed this one heading into the holiday break," said Lady Topper head coach Mary Taylor Cowles. "I really felt like in our preparation for this game over the last two days our young ladies were very focused — and I complemented them on that. It was very evident tonight that they really learned from our film sessions and our time on the floor, and really put together a nice performance tonight."
The Lady Toppers led by as many as 14 in the first half, but was unable to shake Troy as five of the Trojans’ 10 first-half field goals came from behind the three-point arc. After Troy scored the first bucket of the game on a Alyce Shearing trey, WKU scored 19 of the next 21 points to pull out to a 14-point lead when a Hope Brown layup made it 19-5 with 13:37 remaining in the half. However, back-to-back threes from Brittnie Davis and Sarah McAppion quickly cut the lead back into single digits, where it would remain the rest of the half.
Troy was able to get back within a point on three occasions late in the period, but the Lady Toppers were able to close the half on a 9-3 run, getting a jumper from Amy McNear as time expired to take a 37-30 lead into intermission.
WKU never trailed in the second half, building as much as a 16-point lead when back-to-back jumpers by McNear made it a 61-45 game with 8:14 remaining. Troy would once again come back, however, scoring 10 of the next 12 to cut the lead down to single digits. The Trojans would get as close as five on a Kylie Morrissy jumper with 1:41 remaining. A Kenzie Rich three-point play the next time down the court swung the momentum back in the favor of WKU, stretching the lead back out to 69-61. In fact, Rich scored seven straight Lady Topper points, and McNear capped off the scoring with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds for the nine-point margin.
Brown and McNear both posted career-high scoring totals, dropping in 18 and 17, respectively. Rich added 14 pints, while Jessica Magley also finished in double figures with a career-high 11. Rich also dished out seven assists and pulled down eight boards, while McNear finished with five rebounds and six assists. Morrissy led Troy with a game-high 19 points, while Shearing added 14 and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Toppers will break for Christmas, then return to action Dec. 30 when they hit the road to take on take on 16th-ranked Pittsburgh at 6 p.m. (CST).