Bowling Green, Ky. — The five freshman on the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team combined to score 46 points Wednesday as the Lady Toppers picked up a 102-62 win over Louisiana-Lafayette at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The win moved WKU to 11-7 overall and 5-3 in the Sun Belt, while ULL dropped to 3-15 and 0-7 in the league.
Three of the Lady Topper rookies scored in double figures as Vanessa Obafemi and Teranie Thomas each scored 13 and LaTeira Owens dropped in 11. Those were all season-high scoring totals.
"We’re happy to get the win, but the big thing tonight was that we were able to get some minutes and some experience for a lot of our young ladies that we as a coaching staff have been very, very high on since they got here," said Lady Topper head coach Mary Taylor Cowles. "For them to be able to get the number of minutes, and give us that kind of production is something that will really help our basketball team get to where we want to be by the end of the season."
Amy McNear and Hope Brown combined to score WKU’s first 15 points of the game as it was able to jump out to a 15-4 lead on a McNear layup just over four minutes into the contest. However, it was Obafemi who led the Lady Toppers in scoring at intermission as she dropped in 11 points — already setting a new career high — including a three that stretched the advantage to 25-11 midway through the period.
The Lady Topper defense limited Louisiana-Lafayette to just two field goals in the final 9:52 of the half — including a stretch of 5:56 without a basket as WKU opened up a 41-17 lead on a Kenzie Rich three at the 4:23 mark. Obafemi gave the Lady Toppers their biggest lead of the period at 46-21 after a three with 18 seconds on the clock, but Jasmine Barnes hit a jumper in the closing seconds to cut the lead to 46-23 at intermission.
WKU put the game away quickly in the second half, using a 19-6 run to open the half and take a 65-29 lead with 14 minutes to go. The lead grew as high as 47 points with 5:44 remaining, and Hope Brown was able to put the Lady Toppers over the century mark for the first time this season when her three made it 100-52.
After a quiet first half, Alexis Green scored 18 of her game-high 20 points for ULL in the second half. That included a eight in the final five minutes of play to cut the final margin to 40 points.
The Lady Toppers put six players in double figures for the first time since a victory at Villanova in the 2005 WNIT, with Rich and Hope Brown leading the way with 15 points each. McNear finished the game with 14 points, and also finished with 10 assists for her first career double-double as the trio of upperclassmen joined the three rookies in double figures.
Arnika Brown also finished with a game-high 19 rebounds in just 21 minutes of action.
As a team, the Lady Toppers shot 54.7 percent from the floor, and also dished out 27 assists — tying for the 10th-best single-game total in the programs’ history.
The Lady Toppers will take their two-game winning streak on the road this weekend as they visit Denver for a 2 p.m. (CST) contest at Magness Arena.