BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University women's basketball team won it's fifth straight game at E.A. Diddle Arena Tuesday night, defeating the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 71-58. The Lady Toppers' 71 points are a season-high as well as their 54.5% shooting from the field. Senior forward Keshia Mosley led all scorers with 22 points, scoring 17 in the second half.
"I'm very proud, not because we won but because of the fashion in which we did it," said head coach Mary Taylor Cowles after Tuesday night's game. "I thought what we were able to do defensively was the whole key to the game. We were able to switch up on the way we defended them, which was a lot different and better than what we did at Tennessee Tech. I don't know if it was our defense that sparked our offense or vice versa, but I liked both ends of the floor tonight."
Mosley finished the game 9-for-11 from the field as WKU was 30-for-55 as a team. Senior forward LaTeira Owens posted a double-double for the second consecutive game, putting up 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Her 15 boards are also a season-high and one short of tying her career-high of 16. Alexis Govan added nine points and five rebounds off the bench.
WKU (6-12) got off to a fast start, taking a 6-2 lead less than two minutes in on two baskets by Owens and a Chastity Gooch layup. Tennessee Tech (6-13) came back with a 5-0 run to go ahead 7-6 with 16:27 to play in the opening half. That would be the Golden Eagles' only lead of the half. With the game tied at 10-10 at the 12:36 mark of the first half Ileana Johnson made an elbow jumper to start an 11-4 run that put the Lady Toppers ahead 21-14 with 9:23 to go in the period. Danay Fothergill capped off the run with a three-pointer to give WKU its largest lead of the half.
Tennessee Tech closed to within four at the 6:14 mark as a Jala Harris basket put the score at 23-19. WKU quickly got the lead back up to six, as a Gooch layup and Mosley free throw put the Lady Toppers ahead 26-20. The Golden Eagles got within three with 2:22 to play in the first half before baskets by Gooch and Govan put WKU up 32-25 with 1:28 to play in the half. Tennessee Tech scored in the final seconds of the half to make the halftime score 32-27. WKU shot 53.6% from the field in the first 20 minutes, holding the Golden Eagles under 40% from the floor.
It was the visitors that came out with momentum to start the second half. Tennessee Tech went on a 6-2 run in the first 2:31 to get within one, 34-33. WKU, however, was not fazed by the Golden Eagles' hot start to the second half. With the score 36-35 at the 15:42 mark of the second half, Johnson made a jump shot that sparked a 10-2 run for the Lady Toppers over the next 3:32 to give WKU a 46-39 lead. Mosley scored the last five points of the run on a three-point play and a layup.
The Golden Eagles got within five points at the 8:31 mark, as a Brittany Darling bucket made the score 50-45. Mosley answered with a layup of her own, then Govan scored off a steal to make the score 54-45 with 8:05 to go in the game. The freshman guard then stole the ball from Kylie Cook at half court and found Chaney Means for another WKU layup that put the Lady Toppers ahead 56-45. Mosley then capped the 9-0 WKU run with a three-point play at the 6:58 mark to give the Lady Toppers a 59-45 lead, WKU's largest of the game. Tennessee Tech would only get as close as nine points for the rest of the game.
WKU held Tennessee Tech to 35.6% from the field Tuesday night and 16.7% from the three-point arc. The Lady Toppers also held a dominating 44-26 edge in rebounds. Harris and Taccara Hayes each had 14 points to lead the Golden Eagles in scoring. Hayes scored 30 points in the team's first meeting on Dec. 7.
The Lady Toppers return to Sun Belt play on Sunday, Jan. 22 when the UALR Trojans come to Diddle Arena for a 2 p.m. contest.