Bowling Green, Ky. — Arkansas-Little Rock opened the second half on a 19-1 run, and got 35 points from Chastity Reed as the Trojans picked up a 78-66 win over the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team Saturday afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The win was the first-ever for the Trojans over WKU, and the Lady Toppers had won all 17 meetings in the series heading into the contest. The win moved UALR to 11-3 overall and 3-0 in the Sun Belt Conference, while WKU dropped to 7-6 and 1-2 in the league.
WKU went without a field goal for the first 5:19 of the second half as it saw a four-point halftime deficit balloon to 22 points as the Trojans scored 19 of the half’s first 20 points. The 57-35 lead after a Reed jumper was the largest of the game for UALR, but its lead never dipped below double figures the rest of the way.
Trailing 63-43 midway through the period, the Lady Toppers mounted one last charge, using a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to 67-56 with 4:11 remaining. However, WKU could get no closer as UALR traded baskets the rest of the way to pick up the 12-point victory.
The Trojans shot 59.3 percent in the opening half, and overcame an early five-point deficit to lead for a majority of the period. WKU took the early lead out of the gates, opening up an early 9-4 lead on a Amy McNear jumper just three and a half minutes in. UALR responded with an 11-3 run, however, to open up a 15-12 lead of its own after five straight points by Chastity Reed with 11:29 remaining in the half. Reed went on to finish with 21 of the Trojans’ 38 first-half points.
UALR twice held a double-figure lead thanks to Kim Sitzmann threes — the second of which made it a 32-21 game with 6:25 on the clock. WKU came back with a 10-2 run of its own to pull back within three at 34-31, but Reed hit back-to-back jumpers to stretch the lead to seven with less than 30 seconds to go. However, Hope Brown connected on a three-point play in the closing seconds to cut the WKU deficit to 38-34 at intermission.
UALR followed up tis 59.3-percent shooting effort from the first half by connecting on 50 percent of its shots in the final 20 minutes. Reed paced four Trojans in double figures with her game-high 35, and also pulled down 13 boards. Sitzmann finished with 16 points to help lead the Trojan offense.
McNear led the Lady Toppers with 18 points, while Arnika Brown finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Kenzie Rich and Hope Brown finished with 12 and 11, respectively.
The Lady Toppers will hit the road for its next two games, visiting Florida International on Wednesday (Jan. 7) and Florida Atlantic on Sunday (Jan. 11).