“We had 21 assists to 11 turnovers,” said head coach Michelle Clark-Heard.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU used a dominant first half and superb three-point shooting to post its second consecutive blowout win in conference play, defeating South Alabama 81-55 on Saturday afternoon in E.A. Diddle Arena.
WKU (16-8, 8-5) hit 12 three-point field goals, one off of tying the school record and one of just five times in school history with 12 or more three-point field goals, to separate themselves from the Jaguars in the contest. WKU finished the day 12-of-28 from behind the three-point arc, ending a slump that saw the Lady Toppers hit four three-point field goals or less in each of the last four games.
“We had 21 assists to 11 turnovers,” said head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. “Any coach will tell you, that is an unbelievable number. The biggest thing I was excited about was that they were having fun. We just had two back-to-back games together where they were able to come out on the floor and play hard with energy and have fun. Now, we still have to work on that coming out of the locker room thing in the second half. It’s hard when you’re up by 30 and you try to get them out of the locker room still motivated and pumped. I was proud of them. We went on that three or three and a half minute stretch, but we came back and guarded and made some more shots. That’s what good teams and that’s what I told them.”
With the win, WKU broke a five-game losing streak to the Jaguars, earning WKU’s first win over South Alabama since Feb. 2, 2011. WKU now owns a school-best 47 wins over South Alabama and improved to 27-2 all-time against South Alabama in games played in Bowling Green. It was the largest win for WKU over South Alabama since a 37-point win on Feb, 28, 1999.
The Lady Toppers opened the game by hitting 6-of-7 three-point field goal attempts, including a pair by senior guard Bianca McGee, as WKU jumped ahead 26-9 in the opening nine minutes of the game, the streak included a 11-0 run. Another double-digit run of 10-0 by WKU helped the Lady Toppers expand the lead to 36-12 with and later by 30 at 48-18 at the break as WKU reeled off the final six points of the half.
For the second straight game, WKU rode its defense in the opening half, not allowing consecutive baskets during the first half by South Alabama and forcing 15 turnovers. WKU held Troy to just 19 first half points on Wednesday.
South Alabama (7-15, 5-7) came out strong to begin the second half, scoring the first 12 points of the second period to cut WKU’s 48-18 lead to 48-30 following a pair of three-point field goals around the 17 minute mark of the second half. The Jaguars got no closer than 17 the rest of the game as WKU pulled away in the second half and settled on the final margin of 26 points for the win.