WKU Women’s Basketball: Lady Tops win third straight, down Central Michigan 93-58

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Three-straight wins and a perfect 2-0 at home to start the 2019-20 season, the WKU women’s basketball team continues to roll with a 93-58 win against Central Michigan on Sunday afternoon in E.A. Diddle Arena.

WKU improves to 3-1 on the season, the best start through four games since the 2015-16 season. It’s also the first time since the 2015-16 season the Lady Toppers start the season 2-0 at home.

“I didn’t know (we would be 3-1 to start the season),” said Collins. “I believed in what we were doing. I knew we were doing things the right way. I didn’t know if it would kick in now or later. Right now they feel confident in what we’re doing. I’m not just pleased about the score, obviously I like the wins, but I’m pleased with how the players are approaching the process of what we’re doing. They’re focused on their job. Whatever their job is, they’re doing it to the best of their ability. The winning will take care of itself if you do your job.”

It was the second straight 30-plus point win for WKU after defeating (RV) Belmont 77-46 on Wednesday. Both Belmont and Central Michigan are known for their high-scoring offenses, but the Lady Toppers held the two teams to less an average of 52.0 points.

“(Our offense) is clicking because we aren’t really worried about our offense,” said senior forward Dee Givens. “We focus on defense. When we huddle, I always say, ‘defense first’. Then we know our offense will come.”

Givens was the leading scorer in the game with 21 points on the day. She connected on four 3-pointers as well as pulling down seven rebounds. With 1,199 career points, Givens moves up to 26th on WKU’s all-time scoring list.

Whitney Creech added 18 points and four assists. It’s the fifth-straight game of double digits for Creech, dating back to last season. That’s the longest stretch of her career with double digit points. Sherry Porter was 4-of-5 from 3-point range on the night and finished with 17 points. Raneem Elgedawy picked up her 13th career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

After Central Michigan took an early 4-0 lead, the Lady Toppers surged back and wouldn’t trail again after the 6:33 mark of the first quarter. Porter got the scoring going for WKU with her first three of the night. She hit her second just a few minutes later to put WKU ahead by one and that was the lead that would hold. Her 3-pointer was part of a stretch of nine straight made field goals for the Lady Toppers, including an 8-0 run that featured Porter’s third 3-pointer and a triple from Givens.

Central Michigan didn’t go away and outscored WKU 14-11 in the second period. The Chippewas ended the frame on a 7-0 run to cut the lead down to six points.

“We jumped out to a lead and Central Michigan responded,” said head coach Greg Collins. “They responded by being more physical and we didn’t respond by being stronger not just physically but mentally. We talked about that at halftime and I was proud of how all the players came out focused in the second half. They didn’t let physical play bother them and they actually kind of used it to their advantage.”

The two teams came out in the third quarter and traded baskets for a few minutes, but the Lady Toppers ended the period by outscoring Central Michigan 11-2 in the final three minutes to go ahead by 22. The fourth quarter WKU outscored the Chippewas 26-13.

WKU received a boost from bench play on the night, getting 22 points from the reserves. Sandra Skinner played solid minutes, putting up eight points and getting six rebounds. Myriah Haywood had six points and three rebounds. Freshman De’Myla Brown scored her first collegiate points, finishing with six points on the night.

The Lady Toppers will be back in E.A. Diddle Arena to conclude a three-game homestand against Little Rock on Sunday, November 24 at 2 p.m.