Lady Toppers fall to Rice 82-64

Lady Toppers fall to Rice 82-64
Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 7:17 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The WKU women’s basketball lost its second C-USA home game this season after losing to Rice 82-64 in E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday afternoon.

“We have a very slim margin of error every game,” said head coach Greg Collins. “We’re younger and we’re smaller. That’s a tough combination. To the kids’ credit, for most of the season they’ve battled through those disadvantages or obstacles and overcome them. Sometimes, that obstacle grows too large. Tonight, (India) Bellamy did a great job, but we’ve faced players like her throughout the season and we’ve been able to come up with other ways, whether we’re getting steals or making threes, to win games. Tonight, we couldn’t get any of those combinations to work for us.”

Macey Blevins became the ninth Lady Topper to lead WKU in scoring this season, putting up 13 points. Jaylin Foster added 11 points and five rebounds and Teresa Faustino scored 10. Alexis Mead led the team on the boards, pulling down seven, and in steals, notching a career high six takeaways.

WKU shot just 33.3 percent (21-63) from the field and 17.9 percent (5-28) from 3-point range. The Lady Toppers have been trending upwards in shooting percentages, but the 3-point percentage was the lowest since shooting 15.0 percent against Little Rock (12/11/22) and the field goal percentage was the lowest since going 31.9 percent from the floor at UTSA (2/2/23).

The WKU bench scored 37 points in the game. For the season, the Lady Topper reserves are averaging 28.8 points per game.

The Lady Toppers took an early 4-2 lead, but Rice used a 12-0 run to build a 14-4 lead with 5:24 left in the first quarter. A corner three from Faustino stopped the run. From there, Rice and WKU traded baskets and the Owls took a 22-16 lead heading into the second quarter.

WKU scored the first points of the second quarter to cut the Rice lead to four, but the Owls scored seven straight to push back ahead by double digits. A 13-3 run by WKU cut the lead back down to one, but Rice scored five unanswered points to extend it back to six.

With two minutes left in the half, Mya Meredith was ejected from the game due to a pushing foul that the refs deemed excessive.

A free throw from Mead just before halftime made the score 37-32 heading into the break.

After a pair of free throws from Mead to open the third quarter, Rice went on a 22-2 run that gave the Owls their biggest lead of the game at 59-36. The Lady Toppers closed the quarter on a 6-0 run to get back within 17 points going into the final quarter. WKU was able to cut it to 12 twice in the fourth quarter, but Rice outscored the Lady Toppers 23-22 in the frame to hold off any WKU comeback.

WKU will be back in action on Thursday, Feb. 23 at Louisiana Tech. The game is set for a 6 p.m. tipoff.