MIAMI, Fla. – FIU used a 25-0 run in the second half to erase a 41-38 Lady Toppers lead on the way to a 72-53 win over WKU on Saturday night at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
WKU (18-7, 11-5) shot just 16.7 percent in the second half, scoring 18 points.
WKU was attempting to win its 10th road game of the season. It would have marked first time since the 1990-91 season, the year after head coach Michelle Clark-Heard's final year as a WKU player, that WKU has reached 10 wins on the road, a span of 21 seasons without reaching the mark.
FIU’s Jerica Coley, the nation’s leading scorer at 25.4 points per game, scored 38 points to lead the Panthers, one off her season high of 39 points. WKU had held Coley to just 12 points in the earlier meeting between the teams on Nov. 19, a 62-56 win for WKU.
WKU opened the game by hitting its first six shots as it built a 15-6 lead over the first 4:25 of the game. The lead extended to 10 at 16-6 on a free throw by sophomore Chastity Gooch with 13:46 left in the first half.
The Panthers fought back, cutting the lead to one at 19-18 following a basket by Coley with 7:46 remaining in the first half. Following the FIU run, WKU responded by extending the lead to nine points at 33-24 following a three-point play from sophomore Illeana Johnson. WKU maintained a lead for the remainder of the half, settling for a five-point cushion at 35-30 after shooting 40 percent. After hitting its first six shots of the game, WKU hit just 7-of-20 (35 percent) to end the half.
Gooch had nine points, four steals and four rebounds in the opening half, playing all 20 minutes, while Govan added nine points and three rebounds. FIU shot 50 percent in the opening half as Coley scored 16 in the first half.
In the second half, WKU opened a five-point lead at 39-34 following a basket from Jalynn McClain before going cold minutes later. After WKU led 41-38 after a basket by Gooch with 15:50 left, WKU went 10:49 without a point, allowing the Panthers to score 25 consecutive points.
Gooch finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks and five steals for the Lady Toppers in 40 minutes while Govan added 16 points and six rebounds.
WKU returns home to face ULM on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in E.A. Diddle Arena. It is one of just three home games remaining on the schedule. Single game tickets are available through the WKU Ticket Office by calling 270-745-5222 or 1-800-5-BIG-RED. Tickets can also be ordered online at www.wkusports.com.