BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Jane Morrill scored five of her game-high 24 points in the final 18 seconds to lift Arkansas State to a 78-74 win over the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The loss dropped the Lady Toppers to 17-6 overall and 10-4 in the Sun Belt East Division, while Arkansas State remains in first place in the SBC West, improving to 13-11 overall and 10-5 in league play.
Trailing 65-57 with 5:37 to play, a pair of Jalynn McClain free throws sparked an 8-0 Lady Topper run as Bianca McGee layup knotted things up at 65-65 with 3:28 remaining.
WKU founds itself trailing by two before an Alexis Govan three-point play put the Lady Toppers back in front 72-71 with 1:05 remaining. Morrill answered with a layup a the other end, but Govan got a jumper to fall to again put the home team in front by one with 36 seconds left. Arkansas State — which scored 44 points in the paint — went right back to Morrill who got a layup and foul with 18 seconds left to give the Red Wolves a 76-74 lead.
With under 10 seconds to play, WKU turned the ball over, and Morrill knocked down a pair of game-clinching free throws to give ASU the four-point win.
Arkansas State shot 52.6 percent from the field for the game, including a 60-percent clip in the first half. It was Hanna Qedan providing the spark for ASU out of the gate as she scored its first eight points, helping the Red Wolves to an early 10-3 lead. That seven-point advantage would be the largest for either team in the game as WKU fought back to tie the score at 19-19 midway through the half, and take a 23-21 lead on a McClain jumper with 9:06 to go before intermission.
WKU would lead by as many as three late in the period, but Arkansas State was able to pull even and send the teams to the locker room tied at 37-37. In the end, the game saw 10 ties and 16 lead changes.
Morrill’s 24 points paced three Red Wolves in double figures as Jalen O’Bannon tossed in 20 and Qedan finished with 17. Gooch posted her nation-leading 20th double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out with 2:51 remaining. Govan scored a team-high 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting, while McGee added 11, going 5-for-5 at the free throw line.
The Lady Toppers head to south Florida next week for a pair of road Sun Belt East Division contests, beginning Wednesday night with a 6 p.m. (CST) contest against Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton. WKU will be in Miami on Saturday for a 4:30 p.m. game against Florida International. Both games on the roadswing will be televised by the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network, and will be available on ESPN3.
WKU returns home on Wednesday, Feb. 20, for a 7 p.m. contest against Louisiana-Monroe. 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.
For complete coverage of WKU Lady Topper Basketball, visit the official website of WKU Athletics at www.wkusports.com.