Lady Toppers Drop 71-64 Decision at Middle Tennessee

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — WKU women’s basketball battled back from 18 down to take a lead late in the third quarter, but were unable to overcome Middle Tennessee’s 3-point shooting in the fourth quarter, falling on the road, 71-64.

The Lady Toppers fall to 14-6 on the season and 7-2 in Conference USA. The Lady Raiders move to 15-4 and 7-2 in the conference.

Alexis Mead led WKU in scoring with 17 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Meral Abdelgawad joined her in double figures with 13 points to go with a team-leading seven rebounds and four steals. Jaylin Foster, Macey Blevins and Hope Sivori each posted eight points.

WKU outscored Middle Tennessee 36-20 in the paint, but the Lady Raiders made 11 from the perimeter on 39 shots (28.2 percent), compared to WKU’s five treys.

Both teams struggled to score early. Macey Blevins broke the scoring drought with a three at the 7:26 mark. Middle Tennessee followed with a three of their own to tie it up and then another three to take the lead. WKU used a 5-0 run to take an 8-6 lead. The Lady Toppers kept the lead until the end of the quarter, when a Lady Raider 7-0 run put Middle Tennessee ahead 17-12.

The Lady Toppers opened the second quarter on an 12-2 run to take an 18-point lead. From there WKU outscored Middle Tennessee 11-4 to cut the deficit to 11 going into halftime.

Middle Tennessee made a pair of free throws to score first in the third quarter. WKU cut the lead to four with a 9-0 run. After a Lady Raider basket, the Lady Toppers scored five straight points to get within one. The two teams went back and forth, but WKU took the lead at the 1:26 mark behind seven straight points from WKU. The Lady Toppers weren’t able to hold onto that lead for long. Middle Tennessee scored the final six points of the third to retake the lead.

The Lady Raiders made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and WKU wasn’t able to get within less than seven in the frame. The Lady Toppers outscored Middle Tennessee 39-35 in the second half.

It was the first time this season that WKU lost when shooting better from the field. The Lady Toppers shot 46.9 percent (23-49) while Middle Tennessee was 35.0 percent from the floor (21-60). WKU was 13-0 coming into the game when outshooting its opponents.

WKU will return to Bowling Green to host Charlotte (Feb. 3) and Old Dominion (Feb. 5).