Lady Toppers’ Comeback Falls Short in 75-65 Loss to MTSU

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Challenges keep presenting themselves to the WKU women’s basketball team and the youth that the Lady Toppers are burdened with in 2020-21 continues to slowly chip away. Despite falling behind by as much as 19 in the first half, the Lady Toppers (3-8, 2-3) battled back to within four in the second half, ultimately falling to Middle Tennessee (8-4, 6-1 C-USA), 75-65.

“I’m proud of how the kids kept fighting,” said head coach Greg Collins. “We had a horrible second quarter, but they came back in the second half and kept fighting.”

WKU opened the game with defensive intensity, forcing six first quarter turnovers against a team that seldom makes miscues. The Blue Raiders turn the ball over the second fewest of any Conference USA team. WKU went into the second quarter up 16-13.

The second quarter saw a complete collapse by WKU. Middle Tennessee outscored the Lady Toppers 21-4 in the frame and held the Lady Toppers to zero made field goals. Outside of the second quarter, WKU outscored Middle Tennessee 61-54.

After the abysmal second quarter, WKU opened the second half with that same intensity from the first quarter and used a 13-3 run to get within four points. The Lady Toppers kept it within single digits for much of the rest of the period, but wasn’t able to close the gap anymore than four points.

Raneem Elgedawy led all scorers with 26 points along with 10 rebounds and three blocks. It was her 30th career double-double, a mark that ties her for the 12th most among active NCAA Division I players and is seventh all-time at WKU. It was her second consecutive 20-point performance and the 19th of her career. Her 26 points pushed her to 1,409 career points, passing Shea Lunsford (1,386) and Kenzie Rich (1,401) on WKU’s all-time scoring list into 20th place.

Ally Collett was WKU’s second leading scorer with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. That tied her season high in made 3-pointers and it was her best 3-point shooting percentage of the season (.571).

Myriah Haywood had her best offensive night since the Tennessee Tech game with nine points on the night. Hope Sivori added eight points on 2-of-4 shooting from 3-point. Meral Abdelgawad match her career high in assists with five in the game.

It was the second consecutive game that WKU has shot above 40 percent (.436) from the field and has scored more than 60 points, both signs of an improving Lady Topper offense.

The two teams will be back in action again on Saturday night in E.A. Diddle Arena. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.