Gooch, McGee Lead Lady Toppers Past North Texas

By: Robert Sampson, WKU Athletic Media Relations
By: Robert Sampson, WKU Athletic Media Relations

DENTON, Texas - WKU shot over 50 percent for the second consecutive game and hit its final 11 shot attempts of the first half to build a 15-point halftime lead on the way to a 76-62 win over North Texas on Thursday night.

WKU (17-5, 10-3) has now won 12 of its last 15 games and are three wins shy of reaching the 850-win mark in the program's history. The Lady Toppers also recorded their eighth road win of the season after securing just one victory away from home a year ago.

WKU handed North Texas (9-14, 8-6) its worst loss at home this season at 14 points, surpassing the 13-point loss to Middle Tennessee by the Mean Green on Jan. 24, 2013.

Sophomore Chastity Gooch recorded her nation-leading 19th double-double of the season, scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 37 minutes. She has posted a double-double in 19-of-22 games this season, including four straight. Gooch's 19th double-double tied Crystal Kelly's 2007-08 output for the second most in program history in a single season. Current assistant coach ShaRae Mansfield's 22 double-doubles in 1999-00 is the school record. It was also her eighth 20-point performance of the season and third straight.

Junior Bianca McGee also continued her strong contributions of the scoreboard, reaching the 20-point mark for the fifth time in the last seven games with 21 points in 35 minutes. Sophomore Alexis Govan added 17 points in her return to her home state of Texas. She played just 24 minutes in the game due to foul trouble, picking up her third foul with 7:51 left in the first half. In two games against the Mean Green this season, she has scored 57 points in 58 minutes played.

After falling behind by seven at 14-7 in the first six minutes of the game following a 12-3 run by the Mean Green, the Lady Toppers fought back to even the game at 18-18 following a basket by Gooch. A three-point play by Gooch then put the Lady Toppers up three with just over eight minutes remaining. North Texas wouldn't cut the WKU to closer than one the remainder of the half as the Lady Toppers closed the half on a 23-9 run. WKU was able to extend the lead without Govan, who received her third foul with 7:51 left in the first half and rode the bench for the remainder of the half.

Govan, Gooch and McGee combined for 34 of WKU's 44 first half points, including 31 of the game's first 35 WKU points. The Lady Toppers shot 59.4 percent in the opening half while holding North Texas to just 29.6 percent from the field.

The 15-point halftime advantage was the largest halftime lead for a Lady Topper team in Sun Belt Conference play this year, surpassing the 12-point lead WKU had in a win over FIU on Nov. 19.

The Mean Green were unable to cut the lead to less than nine in the second half as WKU rolled to its 10th conference win of the season and Michelle Clark-Heard improved to 3-0 when facing a team for the second time this season.

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