Five Straight Wins for Lady Toppers with Double Digit Victory vs. LA Tech
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU women’s basketball (9-8, 6-2 C-USA) is up to five straight wins after a 66-55 victory against Louisiana Tech (11-7, 4-4 C-USA) on Thursday night in Bowling Green.
With the win, WKU is in sole possession of second place in the Conference USA standings. The Lady Toppers are two games back from first place Middle Tennessee (8-0).
“I thought the defensive intensity was good, but I was really thrilled with the communication on the court on the defensive end,” said head coach Greg Collins. “They were talking through problems. I could hear them working things out. They actually changed defensive calls on their own and made it work.”
Odeth Betancourt became the eighth Lady Topper to lead the team in scoring this season, notching a career high 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Alexis Mead and Jaylin Foster had 11 points each and Acacia Hayes had her fifth straight double-digit performance with 10 points. Foster led the team on the boards, pulling down six rebounds. Mead dished four assists while Foster and Josie Gilvin earned three steals each.
It was the third straight game four Lady Toppers have finished with double digit points and the seventh time this season. The bench once again delivered for WKU, scoring 29 points which is right on average for the season (29.1 points per game for reserves).
“It’s a great feeling (winning five straight),” said Foster. “Every game is a championship game and it’s closer to a championship…We always take it as one game at a time and keep pushing.”
The Lady Toppers took an early lead, but a 9-0 run late in the first quarter helped WKU build a double-digit lead, swelling to as much as 12 points in the first quarter. The second quarter was a low scoring affair with Louisiana Tech outdoing WKU 11-10. The Lady Toppers however took a 33-25 lead into halftime.
WKU pushed its lead back up to 13 twice in the third quarter, but the Lady Techsters scored four straight points at the 2:18 mark to cut it to single digits. WKU used a 7-1 run to end the quarter to take a 51-36 lead into the final quarter.
The final bucket of the third quarter came from Betancourt and she picked up right where she left in the fourth, scoring eight straight points to start the period. Her scoring run helped WKU go ahead by 18 with 7:08 left in the game. Louisiana Tech rattled off a 14-3 run to get back within seven with 1:44 left.
Foster got a block on Louisiana Tech’s next possession and Hope Sivori knocked down a pair of free throws on the Lady Toppers’ offensive possession. After a missed three from the Lady Techsters, Foster came up with the defensive rebound and Hayes made a basket with 41 seconds left. Louisiana Tech attempted another three, but Gilvin pulled down the rebound to seal the win.
“It’s definitely something Coach (Collins) harps on and it’s also something we hold each other accountable for – just playing hard defense,” said Mead. “That’s what gets our offense going so it’s our main focus going into games.”
WKU is now 29-6 under Collins all-time when holding teams below 60 points and 59-15 when keeping them below 70.
The Lady Toppers shot 41.9 percent from the field on the night. It was the fourth time in the last five games that WKU has shot 40 percent of better. WKU is 5-0 on the season when making at least 40 percent of its shots. Louisiana Tech was 35.8 percent from the floor. The Lady Toppers are also 5-0 when outshooting their opponents.
WKU improves to 25-27 all-time against Louisiana Tech and have won 12 of the last 13 games against the Lady Techsters. The Lady Toppers are now 17-9 against Louisiana Tech in Bowling Green.
The Lady Toppers will hit the road once again to face Charlotte on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. (CT). It is the fourth consecutive week WKU has had home and away games in the same week.