MOBILE, Ala. - WKU cut a 14-point deficit to five in the final eight minutes of the game, but were unable to overcome 23 turnovers and fell 56-46 at South Alabama on Wednesday night at the Mitchell Center.
Freshman Jalynn McClain had 11 points and six rebounds while sophomore Chastity Gooch recorded her 16th double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds for WKU (15-4, 8-2).
WKU jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the first 3:35 of the game, capped by a Bianca McGee three-point field goal in transition. The Lady Toppers opened the game by hitting four of their first five shots before the Jaguars came alive. The Jaguars scored 13 of the game's next 15 points, including a streak of nine straight to lead 15-11. After taking the lead, the Jaguars held the advantage for the rest of the opening half, extending their lead to as many as 13 points on two occasions at 33-20 and 35-22. Brianna Wright scored eight of USA's first 12 points in the game and finished with 14 points in the first half off the bench. Camille Reynolds added 10 points in the opening stanza.
The normally strong defensive effort by the Lady Toppers was lacking in the first half as WKU failed to get any points off of just four USA turnovers. WKU had 11 first half turnovers leading to 12 Jaguar points.
USA extended the lead to 14 at 38-24 on a three-point field goal by Reynolds early in the second half before the Lady Toppers stormed back to cut the lead to five at 46-41 following two free throws and a basket by McClain.
After a USA basket to extend the lead to seven at 48-41, neither team was able to find the basket for over 2:30 until USA's Reynolds hit a three-pointer late in the shot clock to go back up 10 at 51-41.
Wright finished with 20 points while Reynolds added 16 on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the three-point arc.
WKU returns to action on Sunday when the Lady Toppers travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn. to face Middle Tennessee. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. with the game being televised on ESPN3.