Lady Toppers advance in C-USA Championship with win against UAB

Lady Toppers advance in C-USA Championship with win against UAB
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 8:19 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU women’s basketball advanced to the semifinals of the Conference USA Championship with a 71-67 win against UAB on Thursday afternoon in Frisco, Texas. The game featured 16 lead changes and seven ties, but WKU led for 33:50 of the game.

“I’m thankful just to get the win,” said head coach Greg Collins. “I felt like we did enough to win the game and I felt like we did enough to let them back in the game. I told the girls, we survived but most importantly we got some experience. Some much needed tournament experience. So, we can do a little bit better job the next game on being a little more focused and little more locked in on what we’re trying to execute and what the situation is.”

WKU improves to 18-12 on the season and have won four straight games.

Jaylin Foster and Acacia Hayes each finished with 14 points, Alexis Mead had 13 and Aaliyah added 10 points. Foster led the team on the boards, pulling down eight rebounds while Mya Meredith had five. Hayes earned the most assists with four and Meredith and Mead each notched four steals.

The Lady Toppers have had 11 games decided by five points or less this season and are now 9-2 in those games.

The Lady Toppers got off to a quick start, scoring five points in the first 41 seconds of the game. After a UAB three, WKU retook a five-point lead after a free throw from Hayes and jumper from Foster. The Blazers tied the score with a 5-0 run of their run at the 6:40 mark. A three from Foster gave WKU the lead again, but UAB went ahead with five straight points. The two teams continued to trade baskets with five more lead changes and tie in the remainder of the quarter.

WKU outscored UAB 15-13 in the second quarter to take a 34-31 lead into halftime. UAB scored four unanswered points to open the third quarter to retake the lead. The teams went back-and-forth, but Mead scored five straight points to put WKU ahead by four. The team once again traded baskets, but WKU maintained a lead. The Lady Toppers used a 7-0 run to end the quarter to take a 53-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

UAB scored five consecutive points to open the fourth quarter and to cut the lead to four. WKU made a pair of layups to push the lead back out to eight. The Blazers responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game at the 5:38 mark. WKU was able to hold UAB off with free throws, keeping the game tied or a 2-point lead. With 2:40 left, the Lady Toppers made back-to-back threes to take 6-point lead. WKU fouled on a 3-point shot with 42 seconds left and the Blazers hit all three to draw within three. The Lady Toppers went 1-of-2 from the foul line on the next possession and then fouled on another 3-point shot. With 10 seconds left, Alexis Mead made of 1-of-2 free throws to make the game 69-67. UAB missed a layup and WKU came away with the rebound. Hayes was fouled and made both free throws to seal the game.

WKU will be back in action on Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. against UTSA in the semifinals of the tournament. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.