BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Four Lady Toppers scored in double figures as the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team picked up their second win over UALR in just over two weeks with a 70-61 win Saturday afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena.
WKU — which has now won two straight games over UALR for the first time since 2008 — improved to 15-3 overall and 8-1 in the Sun Belt Conference East Division, while UALR dropped to 11-7 and 4-6 in the SBC West.
“Our goal coming into this homestand was to go 3-0, and I’m proud of this group for accomplishing that,” said Lady Topper head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “We did a great job of taking care of the ball today. To only have 10 turnovers against a team like UALR — or against any team — is big. I’m just proud of this group for what they continue to accomplish.”
Despite seeing UALR shoot 54.5 percent from the field in the opening half, the Lady Toppers trailed by only two points in the opening minutes of the game, and played from in front for the final 14:10 of the period.
WKU also put together one of its best halves of the season, shooting 40 percent from the field and beyond the arc, and committing just two first-half turnovers. A Jalynn McClain layup at the 14:10 mark put the Lady Toppers in front 12-10. They went on to score seven of the next nine points to open up a 17-12 lead on a Bianca McGee three with 12:43 remaining before intermission.
Micah Jones put the Lady Toppers in front 25-19 with a three at 7:18, but the Trojans fought back to within a point when a Shanity James three-point play cut it to a 27-26 score two minute later. James scored 13 points in the first half for UALR, and was the only Trojan with more than four points in the first 20 minutes.
After Alexis Govan stretched the lead back to 31-28 with a layup at the 4:20 mark, WKU went nearly three minutes without a point. UALR got just one free throw in the stretch, however, as Govan ended the streak with a three to make it a 34-29 game with 1:31 left before intermission.
Govan led all scorers at the break with 14 points.
The Trojans got as close as three down the stretch, but WKU got a three from Jones and a three-point play by McGee in the final 38 seconds to take a 40-33 lead into the locker room at halftime.
WKU continued its run into the start of the second half, scoring the first four points to take its first double-digit lead when a Chastity Gooch layup made it a 44-33 score in the opening minute. That would equal the Lady Toppers’ largest lead of the day as the Trojans used an 8-2 run to pull within five when a Jakeisha Wells jumper made it a 46-41 score with 14:29 to play.
The Lady Toppers quickly responded with six unanswered to again put the lead into double figures, and would allow UALR to get no closer than six the rest of the way.
Both teams blistered the nets from the free-throw line in the final 20 minutes as WKU connected on 13-of-16 second-half free throws, while the Trojans went 11-for-14. The Lady Toppers finished the day 21-of-26 from the line.
McGee led all scorers with 20 points, while Govan and Gooch finished with 16 and 15, respectively. Jones also scored in double-digits with 13 points, going 3-for-6 from behind the three-point arc. James paced three Trojans in double figures with 15 points.
WKU heads back out on the road this week, visiting South Alabama on Wednesday (Jan. 23) for a 7 p.m. (CST) contest in Mobile. The Lady Toppers will close out the week with a visit for Middle Tennessee on Sunday (Jan. 27), with tipoff slated for 2 p.m.
For complete coverage of WKU Lady Topper Basketball, visit the official website of WKU Athletics at www.wkusports.com.