Lady Toppers Roll Through West Virginia State in Opening Exhibition
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Women’s Basketball played its first game inside E.A. Diddle Arena on Wednesday evening, rolling through the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets 112-72 in an exhibition match-up.
“Every single day, they come to practice, to compete, to play, to win,” said head coach Greg Collins on the young team. “I wasn’t surprised that they played hard, I knew they were going to play hard. I would’ve been surprised had they not played hard. That’s always the thing that’s fun about this bunch, I think the fans are really going to grow to love this team because, you saw, we’re up and there’s still players diving on the floor for a ball. That’s something that I’m proud of and pleased about, not surprised by.”
Five Lady Toppers scored in double figures, including four freshmen in their first game in a Western Kentucky uniform. All 12 players found the floor during the exhibition game with 11 of the 12 scoring at least six points apiece.
“It’s our win. It’s our basket. It’s our team,” added Collins. “Any one player is not more important than another player in the big scheme of things. Everybody’s got to contribute. I know Jordan Smith didn’t score but she made some nice plays, got some nice assists down there, she got some deflections on passed balls. She also plays an important part. It’s not just points, it’s everything. They play this way every day.”
After a nervous start in the first quarter, WKU opened the second period with an 11-1 run to take a 32-23 lead. The run included points from four different Lady Toppers, including long balls from freshmen Jenna Walker and Alexis Mead.
The Lady Toppers scored nine unanswered points shortly after to extend their lead up to 41-28 with 4:02 remaining in the half. WKU would make one final first-half push, stringing together 15 straight points to head into halftime with a 58-33 lead.
WKU continued to push on into the third quarter, gathering a lead of 30 points by the time the 10-minute period expired.
The Red and White finished it off in the fourth quarter with a 13-2 run to take a 97-56 lead with just 5:03 on the clock. WKU would make its lead as high as 44 with back-to-back-to-back layups by Jaylin Foster, Tori Hunter and Macey Blevins at the 1:12 mark.
“We gelled so quickly from the time we got here, we all just clicked right away,” said newbie Mead. “That’s a big thank you to the older girls, they weren’t hard to blend in with. We got here and got right to work and I think that’s what helped us come all this way.”
The Lady Toppers shot 57% from the field on 39 of 69 shooting while hitting a 45% clip from beyond the arc. WKU also scored 39 points off of 37 Yellow Jacket turnovers.
“Playing fast is one of our strong suits,” said Walker. “We’ve worked really, really hard. Our strength coach is awesome, our coaches are awesome getting us in shape, and that’s really what we’ve been working on and it really paid off tonight. We all fed off everybody’s energy and I think that was probably what helped us the most.”
Lady Topper Basketball officially opens its season at home against Purdue on Wednesday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m.