Bowling Green, Ky. — Amy McNear scored a game-high 20 points to pace three Lady Toppers in double figures as the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team won their second straight contest with a 66-48 win over Florida Atlantic Wednesday night in the final home game of the 2008-09 regular season at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The win moved WKU to 16-11 overall and 10-7 in the Sun Belt East Division heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale at Middle Tennessee. FAU dropped to 11-16 and 8-9 in league play.
"This was a really good win, and I liked the way we did it," said Lady Topper head coach Mary Taylor Cowles. "A win like this really boosts our confidence, and shows we can put back-to-back really good defensive efforts. This was a team we really, really struggled with in January, and I thought more than anything our young ladies really understood out scouting report and executed extremely well."
The Lady Toppers outrebounded the Owls 46-30 for the contest, and also saw their bench outscore the FAU reserved 15-0.
After opening up a 16-point lead with the first basket of the second half, WKU saw Florida Atlantic score seven unanswered to quickly cut it to a 36-27 game. That would be as close as the Owls would get, however, as the teams traded baskets until back-to-back jumpers by Jessica Magley and McNear stretched the advantage to 50-35 with 8:47 remaining.
A Kenzie Rich three at the 7:26 mark sparked a 10-1 run as the lead ballooned to 60-40 on a Caitlin House layup with 4:39 to play. WKU limited the Owls to just six points in the final six minutes as it was able to run out the clock for the 16-point victory.
WKU trailed just one time in the contest as Florida Atlantic scored the opening basket, but a 10-2 Lady Topper run opened up a 10-4 Lady Topper lead on a Magley jumper four minutes into the contest. After the Owls cut the lead to one, WKU scored eight unanswered — getting the final six points from Teranie Thomas during that stretch — to open up an 18-9 lead midway through the period.
The lead stretched to double digits for the first time when a pair of House free throws made it a 26-15 game with 5:11 on the clock. WKU then held Florida Atlantic without a field goal for the final 3:45, closing the half by scoring eight of the last 11 points to take a 34-20 lead into the locker room.
For the game, Rich and Arnika Brown joined McNear in double figures with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Brown also collected a game-high 17 rebounds for her 17th double-double of the season. Jessica Knurick and Breana Turner paced Florida Atlantic with 13 points each, while Carla Stubbs finished in double figures with 12.
The Lady Toppers bring a close to the 2008-09 regular season on Sunday with a visit to Murfreesboro, Tenn., for a 3:30 p.m. (CST) game against the Blue Raiders.