Lady Toppers win third straight game, beating FIU 75-71
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU women’s basketball (7-8, 4-2 C-USA) won its third straight game with a 75-71 victory at FIU (8-7, 3-3 C-USA) on Saturday afternoon in Miami.
With the win, the Lady Toppers are now tied for second place in the Conference USA standings.
“We found a way to win on the road which was the important thing, but we have to learn from this because the execution and the shot selection in the second half was absolutely bad,” said head coach Greg Collins.
Alexis Mead led the team in scoring with 19 points. She is the seventh Lady Topper to lead the team in scoring this season. Mead was 10-of-13 from the free throw line. She’s the first WKU player to make 10-or-more free throws in a game since Raneem Elgedawy made 10 against Charlotte on Jan. 29, 2021.
Aaliyah Pitts had a pair of career highs with four blocks and eight rebounds, which tied her best mark. Jaylin Foster flirted with a double-double with nine points and seven rebounds. Mya Meredith and Acacia Hayes scored in double figures for the third straight game with 11 points each. Hope Sivori added 10 points.
The Lady Toppers were 30-of-36 from the free throw line in the game, including 12-of-13 in the first quarter. Both the makes (30) and attempts (36) were season highs for WKU.
WKU forced FIU into 29 turnovers, scoring 22 points off those miscues. It was the seventh time this season the Lady Toppers have forced an opponent into 20-plus turnovers and are 5-2 this season when doing so.
WKU got off to a good start, outscoring FIU 28-19 in the first quarter. Foster scored the first points of the game on an open layup in the lane off of a pass from Meredith. After trading points with FIU, the Panthers used a 6-0 run to build a four-point lead. The Lady Toppers responded with a 6-0 run of their own to go ahead by two. In the next minute, FIU would tie the game twice but would not lead again for the remainder of the game.
The Lady Toppers kept a double-digit lead for most of the second quarter and the first half of the third quarter. A 7-0 FIU run would draw the Panthers within five with 3:14 left in the quarter.
WKU pushed back ahead by double digits in fourth quarter, but once again a late quarter rally by FIU cut that lead down. Another 7-0 run by the Panthers made it a four-point game with 2:08 left. Sivori made a shot clock buzzer beating shot to put WKU back ahead by six. A made layup and foul shot cut it to three with 53 seconds left. Alexis Mead made a pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game. A Panther layup with six seconds left once again cut it to three, but Mead went 1-of-2 from the free throw line on the following play to clinch the win.
WKU improves to 35-10 all-time against FIU with the win, including a 15-7 record against the Panthers in Miami. The Lady Toppers have won three straight in the series and 11 of the last 12 games against FIU.
The Lady Toppers will stay in Florida to take on Florida Atlantic on Monday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. (CT).
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