FRISCO, Texas (WBKO) --- Raneem Elgedawy and Whitney Creech each finished with double-doubles as WKU closed the game on an 11-2 run to pull away from Old Dominion in the C-USA Quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon, picking up a 74-60 win inside The Ford Center at The Star.
Thursday’s win sets up a date against top-seeded No. 24/NR Rice in the C-USA Semifinals on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. That game will be carried both on Stadium and locally in Bowling Green on WKU PBS.
Elgedawy notched game-highs in both points (20) and rebounds (15) while Creech had one of her finest games on The Hill with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists to pace WKU (18-13) to its fourth straight win and 11th in a row against the Monarchs.
Joining Elgedawy and Creech in double figures were Dee Givens (14) and Alexis Brewer (11).
As a team, WKU shot 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from the floor, the second-best mark by any team in the C-USA Tournament thus far, and outscored Old Dominion (21-10) in each of the four quarters. The Lady Topper defense also shined on the day, limiting the Monarchs to just 23-of-73 (31.5 percent) shooting and a 4-of-26 mark (15.4 percent) from beyond the arc.
Taylor Edwards paced Old Dominion with 20 points, and Ajah Wayne finished just shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Though the Monarchs committed only seven turnovers, the Lady Toppers turned those into fast-break points, outscoring Old Dominion 14-8 in the category.
Throughout the first quarter, neither side was able to gain more than one possession of separation until a quick run of four straight points, all scored by Elgedawy, gave WKU a 20-16 edge with 1:10 on the clock. The sophomore split a pair of free throws before converting a three-point play on the fast break to finally give the Lady Toppers a bit of breathing room.
Old Dominion chipped away at the deficit and managed to take the lead early in the second frame on a layup by Wayne, but WKU roared back with seven unanswered points to take its largest lead of the game to that point. Four different Lady Toppers scored during the stretch, with four more points coming off the fast break, and Elgedawy capped the run with a layup at the 6:55 mark to give WKU a 29-23 advantage.
The lead grew to as many as nine points after a Meral Abdelgawad three-pointer before Old Dominion whittled it back down to three with just over a minute remaining. Over the final 60 seconds, WKU’s defense locked down and got a layup from Arame Niang in the closing seconds to carry a 36-31 lead into the halftime break.
Early in the third quarter, the Monarchs cut WKU’s lead down to just three points after a Victoria Morris three-pointer, but Brewer responded immediately on WKU’s next possession with a triple of her own from the right corner to restore the two-possession lead, 46-40.
WKU finally pushed its lead to double digits late in the quarter after five straight points from Creech and Brewer, with Brewer’s three-pointer at the 1:55 mark giving the Lady Toppers an 11-point, 56-45, advantage. Though Old Dominion managed to cut its deficit to five points before the end of the frame, Abdelgawad scored on a fast-break layup on WKU’s final possession of the quarter as the Lady Toppers carried a 58-51 edge into the final 10 minutes of play.
A 5-0 run to open the fourth quarter rebuilt the double-digit lead for the Lady Toppers, with four of the five points coming from Creech. Old Dominion answered back with a 7-0 run of its own, sparked by a Mariah Adams three-pointer, to cut WKU’s lead to just five points, 63-58, with 5:07 remaining.
From there, however, the Lady Toppers took control, scoring 11 of the game’s final 13 points to earn the comfortable 74-60 win. Five different Lady Toppers scored in the final five minutes, and WKU ended the contest on a 7-0 run over the final two and a half minutes to secure the victory.
WKU will get another shot at top-seeded No. 24/NR Rice on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. in the C-USA Semifinals after the Owls took care of North Texas, 61-43, in Thursday’s first quarterfinal game. Rice enters the semifinals having won 19 straight games, including a 68-46 win over the Lady Toppers inside E.A. Diddle Arena on Feb. 7. With a win, WKU would reach the championship game of the C-USA Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons as a league member.