BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU sophomore Alexis Govan scored 40 points as the Lady Toppers improved to 4-0 in Sun Belt Conference play with an 82-80 win over North Texas on Saturday night. The 40-point performance is the best by a player in the Sun Belt Conference this season.
WKU (11-2, 4-0) has won 11 games before the start of the new calendar year for the first time in program history. It is just the fifth time in school history that the Lady Toppers have won 10 games or more before the start of a new calendar year.
Govan hit 16-of-20 shots to record the fourth 40-point game in program history and first since the 2007-08 season when Crystal Kelly set the school record with 42 points against ULM. Govan’s big night helped WKU to its sixth consecutive win, the longest streak since that 2007-08 season for WKU. Govan’s 16 field goals were also the second most in a game in program history.
WKU led by as many as nine early in the second half before North Texas stormed back to take a one-point lead at 47-46. Following the Mean Green’s overtaking of the lead, WKU scored seven straight to take a 55-49 lead. The Mean Green again fought back to within one at 73-72 following a three-point field goal by Laura McCoy with just over two minutes remaining before Bianca McGee answered with a three with 1:53 left to give WKU a 76-72 lead. North Texas got within one at 79-78 before the game was settled on free throws and WKU claimed the two-point win. Govan’s 40th point came with 3.4 seconds remaining to extend the lead from 81-80 to 82-80 before missing the final free throw to milk the clock in the final seconds.
WKU won its seventh game in the month of December for the first time since the 1990-91 season and stayed unbeaten against the Mean Green in Bowling Green, having won all nine meetings between the teams when played in E.A. Diddle Arena.
North Texas (2-10, 1-2) outrebounded the Lady Toppers 45-33, but WKU shot 47.4 percent, including making 11-of-16 to begin the game. WKU forced 24 turnovers, converting the miscues into 21 points.
Sophomore Chastity Gooch continued her double-double tear, posting 15 points and 11 rebounds. It was her 12th double-double in 13 games this season. She leads the nation in the category.
After North Texas led for much of the first eight and a half minutes of the game, WKU broke a 17-17 tie with a three-point play by Gooch, the start of a span of nearly three minutes where Gooch scored nine consecutive points for the Lady Toppers. It came after Govan had scored the first six of the game for the Lady Toppers and nine of the first 11 of the game for WKU. After WKU took the lead at 20-17, it extended the lead to four on multiple occasions before scoring the final five points of the half to lead 43-36 at halftime, its largest lead of the opening half. WKU shot 56.3 percent in the opening stanza, including making its first five shots and 11-of-16 to begin the game.
Govan scored 24 of her 40 points in the first half, hitting 11-of-13 from the field, in 16 minutes.
WKU was playing its first game since capturing the Wright State Invitational on Dec. 21, 2012, its first regular season invitational tournament title since the 1997-98 season.
WKU returns to action on Jan. 3, 2013 at UALR. Tipoff is set for 5:15 p.m. It is part of a two-game road swing to the state of Arkansas. WKU will meet Arkansas State on Jan. 6, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. WKU returns to the friendly confines of E.A. Diddle Area on Jan. 12, 2013 to meet Florida Atlantic. Tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m. Season tickets and 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.