Lady Toppers fall in season opener at Tennessee, Collett drops 16 in collegiate debut

WKU freshman guard Meral Abdelgawad (30) drives into the paint against Nicole Iademarco (22) and a stingy Rice defense in the C-USA quarterfinal round at the Ford Center at The Star March 15 in Frisco, Texas. Abdelgawad only scored 5 points and had 3 rebounds in 21 minutes of play in the 64-57 loss. [HERALD/ Jospeh Barkoff]

Drew Toennies

The Lady Toppers (0-1) fell short in their 2020-21 season opener against the University of Tennessee (1-0) by a score of 87-47.

The Lady Vols dominated in rebounding, as they were able to shut out WKU and go on several runs throughout the game, including a 15-3 run during the third quarter.

“Our post players are almost all fouled out,” head coach Greg Collins said. “I think they learned about how physical this game is.”

The Lady Toppers also struggled with rebounds as the Lady Vols managed to dominate on the court with rebounding. 

WKU was only able to snag 32 rebounds on the day, as junior Meral Abdelgawad had nine rebounds. Senior Rennia Davis, who is the starting forward for the Lady Vols had 11 rebounds. Tennessee managed to have 56 rebounds total.

The Lady Vols also shot 33-75 from the field and were 6-22 from the three point line. WKU was 14-55 from field goal range and 8-29 when it came to sinking three pointers.

Despite opening the season with a loss, WKU still had several notable performances on the day.

Freshman Ally Collett had 16 points in her WKU debut. She added three rebounds, and one assist to her credit while she also led the Lady Toppers in scoring.

Collins assessed Collett’s performance following the opening day contest.

“She’s going to get better, she’s a competitor, she wants to win,” Collins said about the London, Kentucky native in her debut. 

“We definitely could have done better,” Collett said. “Definitely finishing around the rim.” Collett also said she could improve on getting more boards.

Abdelgawad was another player that put on a performance for WKU.  

Despite fouling twice before the end of the first quarter, Abdelgawad came off the bench to drop 13 points on the Lady Vols and led the Lady Toppers in rebounds, with nine.

Redshirt sophomore Myriah Haywood was another player who created opportunities off the bench as she put up 8 points and 3 rebounds. 

Next up the Lady Toppers will open play in Diddle Arena hosting Ball State on Dec. 5 with a 2 p.m.tipoff. Last season WKU took down Ball State in overtime 91-86, graduate Dee Givens dropped a career-high 41 points in the affair. 

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