Defense, Second Half Spurt Lead Lady Toppers Over UT Arlington 59-46

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU held UT Arlington without a field goal in the first 7:15 of the second half and opened the second half on a 14-5 run to pull away from the Mavs in a 59-46 win at E.A. Diddle. The game marked the first-ever meeting between WKU and UT Arlington

Junior Chastity Gooch had 12 points and 12 rebounds while senior Bianca McGee had a game-high 17 points and sophomore Micah Jones had 16 points to pace the Lady Toppers.

The win also gave head coach Michelle Clark-Heard her 125th win as part of the Lady Topper Basketball program. Clark-Heard is now 125-54 in her career as a player and head coach of the program. A four-year letterwinner on the Hill (1987-90), Clark-Heard was part of four NCAA Tournament teams during her Lady Topper career. She also helped guide the Lady Toppers to a pair of Sun Belt Conference Tournament championships (1988 and 1989) and two conference regular-season titles (1989 and 1990). She played in 118 games during her four years in the Hill, scoring 790 points and pulling down 615 rebounds. WKU amassed 89 victories during her four years in uniform, winning 70 percent of the games over that span and putting together three 20-win seasons.

After a sluggish first half from both sides, the Lady Toppers jumped out to a quick start to the second half. Micah Jones knocked down a three-point field goal and Gooch converted on a fast break opportunity in the opening minute of the second half to expand WKU’s 26-25 halftime lead to 31-25. The Lady Toppers quickly expanded on the lead with another three-point field goal by Jones to go up 35-27 within the first four minutes of the half.

The Lady Toppers start to the second half was aided by a strong defensive effort, holding UT Arlington without a field goal in the first 7:15 of the second half until Malaika Green hit a jumper from the baseline to end the drought after missing the first eight shots of the period. The cushion allowed the Lady Toppers to gradually pull away and secure the win.

WKU is now 14-5 or better on the season for the second straight year but for just the fifth time in the last 15 seasons. WKU was 15-4 through 19 games last season in Clark-Heard’s first season as the WKU head coach. The Lady Toppers currently hold a 6-2 mark in league games, opening the conference slate with wins in at least six of the first eight games for the second straight year after failing to do so the previous four seasons.

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