Lady Tops Drop Season-Opener at Tennessee

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — It had been 266 days since WKU women’s basketball took to the court against another team. In that 266 days, the Lady Toppers had adapted a new look. Seven Lady Toppers logged minutes in a collegiate game for the first time ever on Saturday in a 87-47 loss at (RV) Tennessee.

“I’m proud of how hard my kids competed,” said head coach Greg Collins. “We have a lot of room for improvement. I think we’re going to be a lot better team, even by next weekend.”

Freshman Ally Collett made an impressive debut for the Lady Toppers, scoring 16 points, connecting on three 3-pointers, along with three rebounds, two steals and an assist.

WKU’s lone starter left from 2019-20, Meral Abdelgawad, picked up right where she left off notching 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Myriah Haywood recorded a career high with eight points in the game.

The Lady Toppers stayed with Tennessee in the first quarter. The largest lead the Lady Vols were able to go ahead by was four points in the frame. Collett out WKU on the board first on a pair of free throws. She scored seven of her 16 points in the quarter. She and Haywood each made a three at the end of the quarter to put the Lady Toppers within 17-13.

Tennessee opened the second quarter with a 12-0 run, but WKU responded by scoring five straight on a Haywood jumper and an Abdelgawad three to get back within 11. The Lady Vols outscored WKU 9-2 to end the quarter ahead 38-20.

WKU had its best offensive quarter in the third, putting up 16 points. Overall, Tennessee outscored the Lady Toppers 49-27 in the second half.

The Lady Toppers will be back in action next Saturday against Ball State in WKU’s home opener. The game is slated for a 2 p.m. tip.