LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – WKU used a 10-0 run in the final four minutes of the game to break a 62-62 tie en route to a 78-69 win over UALR at the Jack Stephens Center to stay unbeaten in Sun Belt Conference play.
Sophomore Chastity Gooch had a game-high 23 points to lead four Lady Toppers in double figures and help WKU to its 12th win of the season. WKU (12-2, 5-0) won despite shooting nearly 10 percent less than the Trojans but capitalized on 16 UALR turnovers, holding a 28-11 advantage in points off turnovers.
Gooch was joined in double figures by sophomore Alexis Govan (18 points, including 10-of-10 from the free throw line), freshman Micah Jones (13 points) and junior Bianca McGee (12 points and six rebounds).
After UALR’s Hannah Fohne hit a free throw to tie the game at 62-62, McGee hit a basket, followed by free throws by Gooch and Jones, a basket by Govan and two free throws by Jones to build the 10-point lead late in the game.
The win gave WKU its first five-game conference win streak since the 2009-10 season when WKU won its final four regular season games and the first game of the conference tournament for a five-game win streak. It’s the first 5-0 start to conference play for the Lady Toppers since 2007-08 season when the team started league play with 11 consecutive wins on the way to a 16-2 conference mark and the East Division championship. It is the eighth time in program history that WKU has started conference play 5-0.
The Lady Toppers fell behind by six at 13-7 just six minutes into the game as UALR’s Kiera Clark scored the Trojans’ first eight points of the game and ten of their first 15 points. The Lady Toppers fought back to tie the game at 17-17 on a basket by Micah Jones. After consecutive UALR baskets by Shanity James and Hannah Fohne to go up 21-17, the Lady Toppers jumped ahead using a 14-2 run to go ahead 31-27 with 6:06 remaining. A basket by Bianca McGee in the final seconds of the half gave WKU a 38-33 lead heading into the locker room. Gooch scored 12 points in the opening half to lead the Lady Toppers while Clark had 14 in the opening stanza to lead the Trojans.
WKU held the five-point advantage at the half despite allowing UALR to shoot 51.7 percent before halftime at 15-of-29. WKU hit all ten of its free throw attempts before halftime to help build the lead.
UALR (10-3, 3-2) scored the first five points of the second half to tie the game at 38-38 before the teams fought back and forth for much of the second half until WKU’s late run.
WKU continues its stretch through Arkansas on Sunday when the Lady Toppers face Arkansas State in Jonesboro. Tipoff is set for 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.