SAN MARCOS, Texas - WKU used an early 27-2 run and stifling defense to continue its major hot streak, beating Texas State 75-45 in Strahan Coliseum on Wednesday evening to take over sole possession of second place in a tight Sun Belt Conference race.
The Lady Toppers have now won four straight games, all by at least 26 points, in league play with just three games remaining before the start of the Sun Belt Conference Championships in New Orleans, La. on March 12. The four-game streak is WKU’s longest conference winning streak of the season and best conference streak since winning the first five games of league play last season.
Junior All-America candidate Chastity Gooch had a game-high 15 points in a balanced WKU attack, the highest mark of four Lady Toppers in double figures, continuing her dominance in league road games this season. She entered the game averaging 23.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game on the road in league play, including 26 or more in three of the first six league games played before tonight. Gooch added two blocks and two steals in just 27 minutes.
Sophomore guard Micah Jones had 12 points, senior guard Bianca McGee had 11 points and freshman Bria Gaines had 13 points. In addition, redshirt freshman and Freshman All-America candidate Kendall Noble stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, five rebound, eight assists and seven steals.
The WKU defense was again a force, registering a season high 17 steals and forcing 19 turnovers. The Lady Toppers held Texas State to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field and hitting just 3-of-13 from behind the three-point arc.
WKU (18-8, 10-5) fell behind 6-2 in the opening two and a half minutes before mounting one of its most impressive scoring runs of the season. WKU went on a 24-2 run to eventually jump ahead 26-8 with 8:31 left in the half, hitting all three of its three-point field goals during the run. Gooch got the Lady Toppers going early, scoring the teams’ first six points.
WKU continued to pull ahead late in the first half as WKU led 41-12 with 1:26 remaining in the period before Texas State nailed two three-point field goals in the final 1:13 to help slim the WKU halftime advantage to 43-18. The Lady Toppers limited the Bobcats to just 29.7 percent shooting from the field.
WKU shot an impressive 46.7 percent in the opening half, including hitting its first four three-point attempts and finishing 4-of-6 from behind the arc for the half.
Texas State cut one-point off the WKU lead in the opening minutes of the second half before pulling away again with a 10-0 run. WKU shot 47.2 percent from the field for the game and outrebounded the Bobcats 43-26 after getting beat 37-27 on the boards in an earlier meeting between the teams in which WKU lost 67-64.
Texas State (12-14, 9-6) guard Erin Peoples led the Bobcats with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting for the game.