The Lady Toppers will face UALR at 1 p.m. (CST) on Tuesday in the championship game. The contest will be televised live on ESPNU, and will also be available on ESPN3.com. WKU won the only regular-season meeting with the Trojans, picking up a 66-64 win on Feb. 16 in Little Rock.
In a game that saw seven ties and 12 lead changes, it was the Lady Topper defense down the stretch that won the contest. WKU limited Arkansas State to just two points in the last 9:40 of the contest, going on an 11-2 run to close the game and pick up the victory.
"I'm just very proud of this basketball team for getting to where they are and the way they have gone about it," said Lady Topper head coach Mary Taylor Cowles, who has now led WKU to five tournament title games in nine years. "We know coming into today's game that we had our work cut out for us against Arkansas State, but there is nobody I'd rather being going into a championship game with than these 11 Lady Toppers we have in uniform."
WKU fell down by as much as five early the second half, but used a 9-2 run to tie the game on a Hope Brown three and go ahead on a layup by Amy McNear at the 12:17 mark. The Red Wolves battled back in front, however, taking a 45-44 lead on a NeNe Hurst layup with 9:41 to play. It was from there that ASU went cold, however, gettting just one more basket from Hurst at the 6:04 mark to pull within one at 48-47.
LaTeira Owens answered with the final field goal of the game at 5:44, but Arkansas State was unable to score the remainder of the way as the Lady Toppers added five free throws down the stretch to push the final margin to eight.
It was Arkansas State which put together the game's first run, getting a three from Hurst to spark a 10-2 run and give the Red Wolves an early 14-7 lead. However, Owens got a basket for WKU on the other end as the Lady Toppers got eight unanswered of their own to regain a 15-14 advantage midway through the half.
Keisha Mosley sparked another spurt as she scored five straight points, and Vanessa Obafemi knocked down a three to put WKU in front 23-17 with 7:24 left in the period. The Lady Toppers would match that six-point advantage two other times during the half, but the Red Wolves closed on a 6-2 run to cut the WKU lead to 29-27 at intermission.
Mosley led all scorers at the half, coming off the bench to go 4-for-5 from the field and finish with nine points. Shay Scott finished the half with eight points to pace ASU.
For the game, Arnika Brown led all scorers with 18 points, while Mosley added 13 points off the bench. Both posted double-doubles, pulling down 11 rebounds each. Hurst scored 15 points to lead ASU, accounting for 12 of the 20 points for the Red Wolves in the second half.
- WKU -