Lady Toppers advance to Conference USA championship game with 70-55 win over UTSA

WKU beat UTSA 70-55 in C-USA semifinals
Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 1:08 AM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU women’s basketball advanced to the Conference USA Championship finals with a 70-55 win against UTSA on Friday night in the semifinals. The Lady Toppers will face Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. for the C-USA tournament title.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these young ladies and the way they played defense tonight,” said head coach Greg Collins. “When you can hold a great player like Jordyn Jenkins to two made field goals and six field goal attempts - I know she was in a little foul trouble but she still played 20 minutes – when you can do that, you have a team full of young ladies who are locked in on the game plan and focused on executing. I’m really proud of that because that really exemplifies this team. From Day One, we’ve said the strength of this team is the team. I think that doesn’t just show in our scoring but also in our team defense.”

Jaylin Foster led WKU in scoring with 13 points along with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Acacia Hayes and Hope Sivori each had 10 points. Teresa Faustino finished with six points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

WKU improves to 24-9 in semifinal games in conference tournaments all-time. The Lady Toppers improve to 19-12 on the season and have won five straight games.

The Lady Toppers forced UTSA into 20 turnovers, marking the 18th game of the season that WKU has turned an opponent over 20-plus times and the seventh time in the last eight games. WKU is 13-5 on the season when forcing 20 or more miscues.

WKU improves to 67-15 under Collins when holding teams below 70 points and 31-6 when holding teams below 60 points.

The Lady Toppers shot 42.9 percent from the floor on the night. WKU is now 13-1 on the season when shooting 40 percent or better. The Lady Toppers also improve to 9-0 on the season when outshooting their opponent.

The WKU bench provided 39 points in the game. The Lady Topper reserves have contributed all season and are now averaging 29.4 points per game.

Hayes scored the first points for WKU on a layup to tie the score 2-2. The two teams traded baskets, but another Hayes layup gave WKU the lead at 6-4. The game went back-and-forth, but a 6-0 UTSA run put the Roadrunners ahead 12-8. The Lady Toppers ended the quarter with five straight points, including a three from Hope Sivori with four seconds left to give WKU a 13-12 lead.

Sivori scored the first points of the second quarter as well and Foster followed with two points to put WKU ahead by five. UTSA cut it to one, but a three from Foster pushed it back out to four. After a Roadrunner basket, WKU went on a 7-0 run to take a 27-18 lead. The Roadrunners cut it to four with 2:12 left in the quarter and the rest of the quarter went back-and-forth with WKU taking a 34-30 lead into halftime.

WKU scored the first five points of the third quarter to get the lead back to nine. After a UTSA layup, Faustino and Allen made three straight threes for WKU (Faustino with one and Allen with two) to give WKU a 48-34 lead. The Lady Toppers outscored the Roadrunners 19-6 in the third to take a 53-36 lead into the final quarter.

UTSA scored first in the fourth quarter, but Jordan Smith came in for WKU and knocked down back-to-back threes to give WKU its largest lead of the game at 59-38. The Roadrunners would go on to outscore the Lady Toppers 19-17 in the fourth.

Saturday will be WKU’s first championship game appearance since 2018. The Lady Toppers are 3-0 in championship games since joining C-USA and have won four straight championship games they have played in (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018).