BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — South Alabama finished the night 14-for-14 at the free throw line - including going 6-for-6 in the final minute - as the Jaguars closed on a 9-0 run to defeat the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball team 65-59 Wednesday night at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The loss dropped the Lady Toppers to 20-8 on the season and 13-6 in league play, while the Jaguars improved to 16-12 and 9-10 in the league.
WKU used an 11-0 run early in the second half to erase a four-point deficit and open up a 44-37 lead on a Chaney Means three with 13:46 remaining. South Alabama was quickly able to pull back even with a 9-2 run to even the score at 46-46 with just over nine minutes remaining.
The game would be tied six times in the second half, but back-to-back Jalynn McClain baskets put WKU up 54-50 with 4:16 to go. Mary Nixon was able to knock down a three to again tie the game at 56-56 at the 3:25 mark, and the teams remained tied until Alexis Govan connected on a three to put the Lady Toppers back in front 59-56 with 1:46 remaining.
That would prove to be the final points of the night for WKU. Mansa El hit her third three of the night with just 50 seconds left to even the score one final time, and the Jaguars were able to connect on six consecutive free throws in the final 39 seconds — all in a one-and-one situation — to seal the six-point win.
The Lady Toppers were able to jump out to an early lead, opening up a 10-4 advantage on a Chastity Gooch jumper just over four minutes into the contest. However, the Jaguars would go on to shoot 48.1 percent from the field in the opening half, overcoming a slow start to take a 15-14 lead on a Meghan Dunn three with 12:12 left in the opening period.
After a Means three give WKU a 22-19 lead at the 9:07 mark, South Alabama used an 8-0 run to pull out to a 27-22 lead with 6:33 on the clock. The Jaguars would hold that lead for the rest of the half, taking a 33-30 lead into the locker room at halftime.
For the game, Govan led the Lady Toppers with 16 points, while McClain came off the bench to score 12 points and pull down a game-high nine rebounds. Nixon paced the Jaguars with a game-high 17 points, while Brianna Wright added 16. Both Nixon and Wright went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.