Mobile, AL South Alabama hit 9-of-12 shots from behind the three-point arc on their way to a 74-65 win over WKU in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both squads.
Junior All-America candidate Chastity Gooch had 26 points and nine rebounds to pace WKU in the setback. She hit 11-of-19 from the field, including 2-of-4 from behind the three-point arc. She added three blocks and three steals.
The Lady Toppers (8-4, 0-1) were without Gooch's fellow junior All-America candidate Alexis Govan for the contest due to an injury to her lower left leg. WKU was just 4-of-22 from behind the three-point arc for the game and allowed South Alabama to get 25 points from the free throw line while getting to the strip just 17 times themselves, converting on 11-of-17 attempts.
McGee added 17 points to round out the leading scorers for the Lady Toppers.
South Alabama hit 5-of-7 three-point field goals in the first 13 minutes of the opening half to help build a lead of as many as eight before halftime. The Jaguars led 29-21 following a free throw with 2:27 left in the opening stanza before Chastity Gooch reeled off eight of the final 10 points of the half for either teams to help WKU stay within two at halftime at 31-29.
The Lady Toppers used an eight rebound advantage (24-to-16) in the opening half and a 10-0 advantage in second chance points in the first 20 minutes to keep the contest close early as the team dealt with the absence of Govan. Gooch had 14 points in 15 minutes in the first half, hitting 6-of-9 shots, to help make up for the absence of her fellow All-American candidate Govan.
In the second half, the Lady Toppers took a 45-44 lead on a basket by McGee with 9:43 remaining in the game before the Lady Jaguars answered with a 9-0 run to jump ahead 53-45. WKU answered with four straight points to cut the lead to four and eventually cut the lead to two at 58-56 on a three-point goal by Chaney Means with 3:54 left. South Alabama quickly answered with a three by Jennifer Johnson to extend the lead to five.
WKU's second half comeback was hindered by the hot-shooting Jaguars. South Alabama hit 11-of-20 field goals in the second half, including 4-of-5 from behind the three-point arc.