Lady Topper basketball falls on the road to North Texas

WKU women's basketball falls 84-76 to North Texas
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 10:00 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU women’s basketball (4-8, 1-2 C-USA) fell on the road at North Texas (4-9, 1-2 C-USA), 84-76, on Thursday night in Denton. The Lady Toppers were down 11 at the end of the first quarter, but fought back to take a lead in the second. The second half featured four ties and seven lead changes.

“We had a lot of trouble scoring at the rim,” said head coach Greg Collins. “We got the three (point) attempts we needed, we didn’t make as many as we want to, but we just couldn’t score at the rim. Our defense was really poor, letting them get to the rim over and over. You can see the points in the paint that shows they had 40 points in the paint.”

Aaliyah Pitts was WKU’s leading scorer for the second straight game with 16 points along with a career high eight rebounds and two assists. Alexis Mead added 12 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Jaylin Foster finished with 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The Lady Toppers connected on 14 threes in the game, tying the school record previously reached against Iowa (1/11/2017), North Carolina A&T (11/12/2021) and Middle Tennessee (2/26/2022). WKU’s 46 attempted 3-pointers were also a school record.

In her first game back from injury that kept her out of nine games, Karris Allen had seven points, seven rebounds and two steals.

WKU outrebounded North Texas 47-36, including 33 offensive rebounds. The 47 rebounds were a season high for the Lady Toppers. The Lady Toppers attempted 31 more field goals than North Texas (83-52), but the Mean Green shot 57.7 percent (30-52) from the floor while WKU shot 34.9 percent (29-83).

North Texas scored the first seven points of the game. Hayes stopped the Mean Green run with a layup at the 8:16 mark. After trading baskets, Meredith and Pitts hit a pair of 3-pointers to cut the lead to four. The Mean Green scored four straight, but Mead knocked down a three to bring it back within five. North Texas went back ahead by double digits with a 6-0 run, but the Lady Toppers made a free throw and Karris Allen swished a buzzer beating jumper to go into the second quarter down 24-17.

The Lady Toppers opened the second quarter on an 8-2 run to draw within one. The Mean Green kept WKU at bay for a few possessions, but a three from Pitts at the 4:21 mark tied the game. That bucket sparked an 8-0 run that put WKU up by five. After a North Texas layup, Pitts scored another three points, this time the old fashioned way with a layup and a foul shot. The Mean Green outscored WKU 6-4 in the final two minutes, but WKU held on to a 42-38 lead at halftime.

The third quarter saw both teams going back-and-forth, including four lead changes and three ties. With a little more than a minute left in the period, Allen chased down an offensive rebound and passed it out to Mead for a three. Mead’s trey tied the game at 59-all. The Mean Green followed with a pair of free throws to take a 61-59 lead into the fourth quarter.

A three from Hope Sivori at the 8:29 mark of the fourth quarter tied the game, 62-62. The Mean Green scored four straight, but Teresa Faustino went on a personal 5-0 run to reclaim the lead for WKU. The next play North Texas went ahead by one with a layup and would stay ahead for the remainder of the game.

WKU will return to Bowling Green to face UTSA on Saturday at 1 p.m. in E.A. Diddle Arena.