BOWLING GREEN, Ky. --- (WBKO) Four-straight wins. Ten-straight wins at home. That’s the roll the WKU women’s basketball team is on after a 71-51 defeat of FIU on Saturday afternoon in E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Lady Toppers improve to 14-6 overall and 6-3 in Conference USA. WKU has won six of its last seven after starting C-USA play 0-2.
Raneem Elgedawy recorded her third-straight double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds in 30 minutes of action. She also dished out three assists, tying her career high.
Dee Givens was one point shy of a third-straight game with 20-plus points, finishing with 19 along with five rebounds.
Whitney Creech had her 16th game of the season in double figures with 10 points. She was two rebounds away from a double-double and she also had four steals and three assists. Sherry Porter finished with nine points, the most she’s scored in conference play, going perfect on the night (3-3 FG, 1-1 3-pt. FG, 2-2 FT).
FIU took a 4-0 lead to start the game, but Elgedawy and Creech quickly tied things up with a pair of baskets. The Panthers followed by connecting on their first three of the night to go back ahead, but once again Creech had the answer. FIU grew its lead to six by making good on a layup and another 3-pointer, but Elgedawy knocked down a 3-pointer of her own to get WKU back within three. Meral Abdelgawad got a putback to then draw the Lady Toppers to within one. The two teams traded baskets and the Panthers took a 14-13 lead to the second quarter.
Sandra Skinner knotted the score one minute into the second quarter with a free throw, but FIU scored three points on a layup and a free throw. Porter connected on her first 3-pointer in four games to once again tie things up. Both teams went on a scoring draught of nearly two minutes, but then the Panthers scored five-straight. Things went back-and-forth for a few minutes, but down three the Lady Toppers rattled off a 15-3 run to end the quarter and to go into halftime ahead 32-25. WKU forced nine FIU turnovers during the quarter and recorded six steals.
The Lady Toppers had their best quarter offensively in the third, outscoring FIU 22-12. That included a 9-0 run by WKU to end the period, putting the Lady Toppers ahead by 17. WKU had another extended run in the fourth quarter, this time an 11-0 advantage that helped build the Lady Toppers’ lead to 20-plus.
WKU outrebounded FIU, 43-22, moving to 12-0 this season when outdoing opponents on the boards. The Lady Toppers pulled down 16 offensive rebounds, compared to FIU’s four, which is the lowest opponent total for WKU this season. WKU was able to capitalize on the mismatch, outscoring the Panthers 18-3 in second chance points.
The Lady Toppers also forced the Panthers into 21 turnovers, the eighth time this season WKU has forced 20-plus turnovers. The Lady Toppers took advantage and scored 25 points off of FIU’s miscues.
WKU will hit the road again to take on Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Feb. 6 and Southern Miss on Saturday, Feb. 8.