BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team battled back from an 11-point deficit with 13:25 to play, outscoring Louisiana-Lafayette by 22 points the rest of the game for a 75-64 win over the Ragin’ Cajuns Wednesday night on “Throwback Night” at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Lady Toppers — who wore jerseys modeled after those of the 1985 Final Four team — improved to 14-3 overall and 7-1 in the Sun Belt Conference East Division. ULL dropped to 7-11 and 1-8 in league play.
“I was really proud of our group in the second half,” said Lady Topper head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “This group believes, and they showed that in the second half. Even down 11 there was a lot of positive energy in the huddle, and we had some kids step up and make plays when we needed it.”
Leading 32-28 at intermission, WKU saw the Cajuns open the half on a 21-6 run to pull out to a 46-38 lead on a Robbie Brown three at the 13:25 mark.
Bianca McGee — who scored all 22 of her points in the second half — responded with back-to-back threes to open up a 16-3 Lady Topper run as WKU regained a 54-52 lead with 7:53 remaining.
The Ragin’ Cajuns knocked down 10 three-pointers in the game, with Sylvana Okde accounting for six of those treys. Her last one of the night put ULL back in front 55-54 with 7:32 left, but WKU scored 11 unanswered to open up a 65-55 lead on an Alexis Govan layup with 5:14 to go.
Govan finished the night with a game-high 25 points, and pulled down 14 rebounds for her second straight double-double.
The Cajuns would get no closer than eight the rest of the way as the Lady Toppers went 8-for-12 at the free-throw line in the final 2:46 to open up a 14-point lead. Okde was able to cut the final margin to 11 as she capped off her 22-point night with a three-point play in the final minute to end the night’s scoring.
Despite shooting 48.1 percent from the field in the first half, the Lady Toppers found themselves in a close contest from the opening tip. Louisiana-Lafayette knocked down five three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes — including three from Okde.
Brandi Schambough gave the Cajuns an 18-13 lead midway through the half, but an Ileana Johnson jumper sparked a quick 7-0 WKU run as the Lady Toppers regained a two-point lead with 8:39 remaining before halftime. Johnson finished the half with six points off the bench in 11 minutes.
The lead would change hands three more times over the next two minutes, marking nine total lead changes in the first 20 minutes. Govan, who led all scorers at the break with 12 points, knocked down a jumper to spark a 10-2 run as the Lady Toppers opened up a 32-25 lead on back-to-back Chaney Means three pointers with 1:20 on the clock. Okde knocked down her final three of the half in the closing minute, however, as ULL cut the lead to four at intermission.
WKU wraps up its three-game homestand on Saturday (Jan. 19) when it hosts UALR at 2 p.m. (CST) in the first game of a doubleheader at E.A. Diddle Arena. 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.