Lady Toppers sweep UTEP after go ahead shot from Karris Allen helps put them on top 62-59
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The WKU Lady Toppers complete the season sweep of the UTEP Miners after Karris Allen hits the go ahead shot to help propel the Tops to a 62-59 win. The win secures the two seed in the upcoming Conference USA Tournament.
“I was really proud of the effort we gave tonight on two of the best guards in our conference in Jazion Jackson and N’Yah Boyd,” said head coach Greg Collins. “When you force those two into 11 turnovers you’ve done a pretty good job on defense.”
WKU was led in scoring by a pair of freshmen in Acacia Hayes and Karris Allen who each put up 14 points on the night. Allen set a career high in points and steals (5) and tied her career high in rebounds (8). Hayes was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and notched her fifth double-digit performance in the last six games and 15th total on the season. With Allen tying for the lead in scoring, WKU has now had 10 different leading scorers this season.
Mya Meredith added 11 points along with six rebounds. Alexis Mead filled out the stat sheet with six rebounds, five points and five assists. The point guard is averaging 3.8 assists per game over the last 10 contests.
The Lady Toppers broke the WKU single season 3-point record with 12 made threes on the night, bringing the season total to 249 which beats the 2016-17 team’s previous record of 242.
WKU was picked to finish sixth in the C-USA Preseason Poll by the league’s coaches. With the second place finish guaranteed, WKU has met or exceeded expectations in four of Collins’ five seasons as head coach at WKU.
Hayes scored the first five points of the game with a layup at the 9:11 mark of the first quarter and a three just over a minute later. WKU pushed their lead to six with a three from Meredith at the 7:34 mark. The Miners cut it to two twice, but WKU responded both times. The Lady Toppers outscored UTEP 8-4 in the last three minutes of the period to take a 21-15 lead into the second quarter. That run included a half court heave from Josie Gilvin at the buzzer.
The second quarter was back-and-forth and UTEP claimed the advantage, outscoring WKU 19-18 in the frame, but the Lady Toppers took a 39-34 lead into halftime. WKU held UTEP to just nine points in the third quarter, but the Lady Toppers also had a sluggish offensive quarter with just 13 points.
WKU entered the fourth quarter ahead by nine points. UTEP scored the first five points of the period to get within four. Meredith scored five straight points on a long jumper and a three to push WKU back ahead by nine. The Miners then rattled off a 9-0 run to tie it up with 3:25 left. Allen made a free throw to put WKU back ahead by one with 2:10 left, but a pair of free throws from UTEP gave the Miners their first lead of the game with 30 seconds left. Allen made a jumper at the free throw line with 24 seconds left to give WKU a one-point lead and that would hold after free throws from Meredith and Mead and defensive stops from the Lady Toppers.
The Lady Toppers improve to 30-6 under Collins when holding teams below 60 points. WKU has had 10 games decided by five points or less this season and are 8-2 in those games.
WKU will close out the regular season on Saturday against North Texas at 1 p.m. The Lady Toppers will not have a Senior Day, but team managers Elise Ward and Zach Greenwell will be celebrated prior to the game for their four seasons with the Lady Toppers.
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