Lady Toppers drop series to MTSU, Collins looking for more energy

Western Kentucky University senior forward Fatou Pouye (12) and senior forward Raneem Elgedawy (15) rebound the ball during Saturday nights game against the Middle Tennessee State University. The WKU Lady Hilltoppers fell to the MTSU Blue Raiders 77-60.

Drew Toennies

The Lady Toppers (3-9), (2-4, C-USA) closed out their series losing 77-60 against Middle Tennessee (9-4), (7-1, C-USA) in the final match of the series.

“We can’t score enough, we can’t put enough layups and free throws in the basket,” head coach Greg Collins said. “I’m frustrated because we’re not putting enough points on the board.”

Collins said that in preparation for their next opponent, Old Dominion, the Lady Toppers would have several things to work on if they want to be successful going forward in conference play.

“We just played less than 24 hours,” Collins said. “You know, we’re going to keep doing this all conference, so we’re going to have to figure out how to bring a little bit more energy and be able to score some baskets.”

WKU senior Raneem Elgedawy had 20 points and nine rebounds. Following her was junior Meral Abdelgawad who had 16 points and seven rebounds.

“We didn’t get enough stops to get back in the game,” Abdelgawad said. “It’s a tough loss for us.”

The opening tip off went to MTSU but they were unable to put any points on the board, as WKU got the ball at 9:13 and freshman Hope Sivori drilled the three to take the lead. However, by the 4:32 mark of the quarter, MTSU had gone on an 11-0 run. 

The Lady Toppers ran into scoring issues throughout the first frame as they ended the quarter trailing their opponent 22-8. WKU also turned the ball over four times in the first quarter, which MTSU would use to put up eight points.

At the 8:33 mark of the second quarter, WKU junior Meral Abdelgawad managed to put in a shot to give them 11 points, but they still trailed their opponents by 13 points.

At the 7:55 mark, WKU had turned the ball over for the fifth time of the night. However, at the 1:52 mark, a late surge by WKU gave WKU a much needed confidence booster as they made quite the comeback and made it a six point game at the half. 

MTSU started to fall behind as they committed their fifth turnover of the game and the Lady Toppers outscored the Lady Blue Raiders 11-7. The score was 27-33 at the buzzer.

WKU was winning the rebound game at halftime as they were out rebounding their conference foes 24-18. The Lady Toppers also led their opponents in grabbing more offensive rebounds with a 9-5 advantage. However, from field goal range, WKU was 29% and MTSU was 44%

Elgedawy dropped the first points of the third frame and also drew the foul to give WKU the first points of the quarter. WKU cut the lead down to four points by the 8:38 mark. 

The Lady Toppers and Lady Blue Raiders were in a close battle as the game was only an eight point difference at the seven minute mark. 

With 2:33 left a nine point MTSU lead was cut by Abdelgawad who scored two off a fast break. The Lady Toppers made it close but trailed by 10 at the end of the quarter trailing 46-56.

MTSU made the first points of the final frame from the free throw line as Deja Cage put in the first free throw. However, Abdelgawad would get fouled to have the opportunity to put two points on the board. 

The Lady Toppers had trouble scoring as they couldn’t score at the 8:11 mark of the quarter. At the 6:21 mark, WKU trailed by 15 points as they ran into scoring troubles. However, freshman Jordan Smith came off the bench for WKU to nail a three pointer to put WKU within a short margin of their opponents.

However, WKU trailed by too much as they fell to their conference rivals at home for the second time in as many nights as they lost 77-60.

The Lady Toppers travel to Old Dominion next weekend. The Monarchs are currently (5-5) overall and (2-4) in C-USA play. ODU was unable to play this weekend due to their series at North Texas being postponed. 

Tipoff in Norfolk, Virginia next Friday is slated for 5:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. 

Women’s basketball beat reporter Drew Toennies at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @drew_toennies.