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Lady Toppers Fall in Season Opener Against Purdue

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 12:30 AM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU women’s basketball dropped its season opener against Purdue on Wednesday night in E.A. Diddle Arena, 79-69. Despite the loss, there were bright spots for the Lady Toppers, including a 20-point performance from Meral Abdelgawad and 34 combined points scored by true freshmen for WKU.

“I liked how hard they played,” said head coach Greg Collins. “They never quit. They kept competing. We missed a ton of decent looks. We didn’t finish the type of shots that we practice. Overall, I liked how hard we played and the intensity we had.”

Purdue jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start the game, but Macey Blevins ended the run at the 5:54 mark of the first quarter with a pair of free throws. A few possessions later Blevins connected on her first 3-pointer of the night to get WKU back within six. Abdelgawad and Jenna Walker also splashed threes in the first quarter, but the Boilermakers matched with two of their own and took a 20-14 lead into the second quarter.

The two teams went back-and-forth in the second quarter, but WKU outscored Purdue 9-3 in the final minute of the period to cut the Boilermaker lead to two just before halftime. In that stretch, Blevins hit another three and Mya Meredith scored the other six points.

At the 5:11 mark of the third quarter, WKU was done by just three. Purdue responded by hitting three straight 3-pointers to push their lead back out to 12. Purdue had a double-digit lead for most of the fourth quarter, but an 8-0 run by WKU with two minutes left in the game put the Lady Toppers within eight. That’s as close as WKU could get with Purdue taking a 79-69 win.

“There were a lot of nerves in the first quarter,” said Greg Collins. “We were our own worst enemy tonight. Purdue’s a great team, but we can’t foul the way we fouled and we can’t turn it over as much as we turned it over and still get an up-tempo game.”

Abdelgawad led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting and added three assists and three rebounds. Blevins finished with 11 points in her collegiate debut. Meredith also scored double figures in her first game on The Hill with 10 points along with seven rebounds. Fellow freshmen Jaylin Foster matched her rebounds total with seven of her own. Teresa Faustino had a balanced effort on the night with seven points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists.

WKU will be back in action on Friday, Nov. 12 in the Preseason WNIT in Manhattan, Kansas. The Lady Toppers will take on North Carolina A&T at 4 p.m. and then will face host school Kansas State on Sunday, Nov. 14 and then UT Martin on Monday, Nov. 15.

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