Acacia Hayes scores career high 31 points as Lady Toppers beat UTSA 77-69
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU women’s basketball (5-8, 2-2 C-USA) used a second half surge to defeat UTSA (3-10, 1-3 C-USA), 77-69, on Saturday afternoon in E.A. Diddle Arena. The Lady Toppers were down as much as 13 in the first half and were down eight at halftime, but outscored the Roadrunners 43-27 in the second half to secure the win.
“We’ve had several games where we felt like we were capable of winning and for different reasons (we haven’t) – sometimes it’s been turnovers, sometimes it’s been fouls, the last game was really defense. So, it felt good to come out in the second half and respond,” said head coach Greg Collins. “I was proud of how they kept the defensive pressure without fouling. That was key. To be able to do that, that’s a step of growth for a young team.”
Freshman guard Acacia Hayes poured in a career high 31 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the floor and 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc. She is one of just two Conference USA freshmen to score 30-plus this season. Hayes also had four assists and three rebounds.
Sophomore guard Mya Meredith had her fourth double digit game of the season with 15 points along with four rebounds and three steals. Fellow sophomore guard Alexis Mead had a career high five steals to go with nine points, four rebounds and two assists.
The Lady Toppers were 10-of-28 from the 3-point line. It is the sixth time this season WKU has made 10-or-more threes and the fifth straight game of doing so. WKU was 46.2 percent (24-52) from the field, the second highest shooting percentage of the season for the Lady Toppers.
The two teams went back-and-forth early in the first quarter, but UTSA used an 8-0 run late in the period to go ahead by 13. A three from Macey Blevins just before the end of the quarter cut the deficit to 10 heading into the second quarter.
UTSA kept their lead in the second quarter, but WKU outscored the Roadrunners 20-18 in the frame.
The Roadrunners scored first in the third quarter, but WKU scored eight straight, six of those points coming from Hayes, to get within two. UTSA was able to extend its lead back out to seven with 2:09 left in the period, but a three from Meredith and a layup from Josie Gilvin brought it back to two with 1:28 left. UTSA went into the fourth quarter with a 56-53 lead.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Teresa Faustino made a three to tie the game. After a UTSA free throw, Aaliyah Pitts hit a three to take the lead for WKU, 59-57. The Roadrunners would then draw even after a pair of free throws, but a free throw from Hayes put WKU back on top and that lead would hold. Meredith scored seven of her points in the fourth and Hayes had six in the frame. UTSA put WKU on the free throw line 14 times in the fourth quarter and the Lady Toppers connected on 10 of those shots.
WKU forced UTSA into 23 turnovers in the game. It is the sixth time this season the Lady Toppers have forced an opponent into 20-plus miscues. WKU took advantage of those miscues, scoring 26 off of turnovers.
The Lady Toppers will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 11 against UAB in Diddle Arena. The game is set for a 11 a.m. tip time.
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