Lady Toppers drop final game of C-USA opener, Sivori scores career high 23 points

Freshman Hope Sivori scored a career high 23 points against the Lady Techsters on Jan. 9, 2021. WKU fell 58-52 to close out the road trip. 

Drew Toennies

The Lady Toppers (2-6), (1-1, C-USA) fell short 58-52 in their final match of the weekend against the Lady Techsters (7-3), (2-2, C-USA). LA Tech broke their two game losing streak against WKU and split the conference opener 1-1.

WKU head coach Greg Collins spoke about the team’s performance following their loss.

“We weren’t really doing a good job on the board and we were fouling a lot,” Collins said. “That was hurting us on the offense. Then on the defensive end, we really were just struggling.”

Collins also said that this game will be a learning experience for the team.

WKU outrebounded LA Tech 36-35 and had eight offensive rebounds, where LA Tech only had seven.

The Lady Toppers committed 18 turnovers and their opponents only committed 10 turnovers. The Lady Techsters also managed to disrupt the Lady Toppers with nine steals. WKU had six steals.

At the end of regulation, the Lady Toppers were 32% from field goal range, whereas the Lady Techsters were 40% from field goal range.

Freshman Hope Sivori was on fire in the second game as she scored 23 a career high points and grabbed three rebounds. Freshman Ally Collett was the next best scorer in the game as she dropped 12 points and had five rebounds.

“I shot pretty good,” Sivori said. “I got confident today so I was just letting them fly.”

Sivori said that back-to-back games against conference opponents will be a challenge for the team.

“It’s really hard because they figure out what kind of defense you’re playing,” Sivori said. “It’s really like a tournament.”

Tipoff went to the Lady Techsters, but they turned the ball over several times in the first minutes, which allowed WKU to go on an 11-0 run early in the opening quarter. 

The Lady Techsters would not perform well in the first quarter as they couldn’t find the basket.

The Lady Toppers had a six point lead over their opponents going into the second quarter of play. WKU was up 14-8 on LA Tech.

However, the second quarter was rougher for the Lady Toppers as they committed eight fouls in the quarter as well as struggled with turnovers. The Lady Toppers turned the ball over eight times.

A timeout called by Collins would help the Lady Toppers to make a few adjustments as their opponents went to the line many times.

The rest of the quarter was a much improved performance from the Lady Toppers who ended the quarter with 29 points on the board. WKU led the Lady Techsters 29-24.

WKU was more accurate from field goal range in the first half shooting 36% from field goal range while LA Tech shot 28% from field goal range.

The Lady Techsters had improved on rebounding as they outrebounded WKU 19-18 and had grabbed five offensive rebounds. WKU only had two.

The most impressive performance in the first half came from Sivori who dropped 12 points, and was 4-of-5 from field goal range and was 3-of-4 from three point range.

Going into the third quarter, the Lady Techsters managed to strike first and cut the lead down to three, but WKU managed to return fire to extend their lead by seven.

However, the Lady Techsters fought back and managed to go on an 11-0 run to take the lead for the first time in the game. WKU called a timeout after they lost the lead.

WKU managed to cut the lead down to one after the timeout, but LA Tech was hard to stop as they extended their lead to six points. The Lady Techsters had gone on a 7-0 run with 2:15 remaining in the quarter.

WKU’s scoring drought didn’t seem to end as they were unable to get to the basket. WKU was also having issues with turnovers as they had 12 turnovers.

Shortly before the third quarter came to an end, freshman Selma Kulo committed her fifth foul to foul out of the game.

With 30 seconds remaining in the quarter, Collet knocked down a shot and drew the foul to go to the line. Collett ended the scoring drought and cut LA Tech’s lead down to five points. The Lady Techsters led WKU 45-40.

WKU scored first in the fourth quarter to cut the lead down to three points, but LA Tech was not giving up as they managed to get 50 points on the board and extended their lead to eight points.

WKU was able to keep up as Sivori continued her offensive attack and dropped another three-pointer.

WKU managed to cut the LA Tech lead down to only three points. The Lady Toppers trailed 50-47.

The Lady Techsters were on fire with steals as they had nine steals so far to disrupt the Lady Topper’s offense. LA Tech’s steals would keep LA Tech ahead and extend their lead to seven points.

With 2:41 on the clock, the Lady Techsters managed to get the biggest lead of the night as they were nine points ahead of WKU.

WKU had committed four fouls in the last five minutes of play as well as had issues finding the basket. WKU was one of their last eight from field goal range.

The Lady Toppers surprisingly elected not to foul their opponents near the end of the game as they trailed 58-52.

WKU would fall short in Ruston as LA Tech took game two with a 58-52 win.

The Lady Toppers will continue their C-USA schedule on Jan. 14 when they travel on the road to play Marshall (2-4), (1-3, C-USA) who currently rides a two game losing skid. Then Lady Toppers will play Marshall again on Jan. 17 at home.

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