Elgedawy excels as Lady Toppers dismantle Florida Atlantic

Ladytopper Raneem Elgedawy drives to the net while being fouled by Southern Illinois University’s defense at EA Diddle Arena on Nov. 20.

Drake Kizer

The WKU women’s basketball team was likely not the scariest entity in Florida on Saturday afternoon, but Florida Atlantic was still spellbound by the Lady Toppers.

WKU (11-8, 5-0 C-USA) did not maintain its hot streak from beyond the arc against FAU, shooting 38 percent, but that proved to be a moot point against the Owls (3-16, 0-6 C-USA), as FAU shot 16 percent from deep and was outscored inside 46-18. WKU cruised to its sixth consecutive win with an 81-50 road victory inside FAU Arena.

Sophomore Raneem Elgedawy lead the way for WKU, notching a double-double with a team-high 25 points and a team-high 16 rebounds. Redshirt sophomore Arame Niang provided a spark off the bench, adding 14 points and three boards for the Lady Toppers.

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“I was really, really proud of all the team,” head coach Greg Collins said on the postgame radio show. “You know, I’ve always said the strength of this team is the team. And here’s another example when, you know, Dee didn’t have a great night, I mean shooting the ball. But she was energetic, she got in some foul trouble, we had other kids that stepped up. Raneem was huge inside, Whitney Creech handled the ball all night and only had two turnovers.”

FAU notched the first points of the game with two free throws and later extended its early advantage to make the score 4-2. Redshirt junior forward Dee Givens picked up where she left off from her last outing, nailing a pair of 3-pointers to kickstart an 8-0 WKU run.

Sophomore guard Sherry Porter drilled a jumper at the 3:26 mark, which capped a 5-0 run and pushed the Lady Toppers’ lead to 15-6. The Owls answered quickly, rattling off a 7-0 run and whittling their deficit to only two points. Redshirt junior guard Alexis Brewer sank a jumper to end FAU’s run and conclude the opening period.

Givens did not play in the second quarter after appearing to pick up her third personal foul late in the first period. The official statistics were later modified to reflect only two fouls on Givens and one personal foul on senior forward Jae’Lisa Allen.

“Dee did not get her third foul,” Collins said on the postgame radio show. “One referee called a charge, but the other referee in position overruled that thing. He called Jae’Lisa for a push and came to the scorer’s bench and signaled [Allen]. . . and so, we took Dee out with two fouls because I didn’t want her to pick up her third foul and then go into the second half with a chance of her picking up a quick foul in the third quarter and having four fouls.”

The Lady Toppers began the second quarter leading FAU 17-13, but senior forward Ra’Kyra Gabriel made a layup and a 3-pointer to propel the Owls to a 5-0 run. After the scoring stretch, FAU trailed by only one with 7:34 remaining, 19-18.

From there, WKU turned up the heat offensively, employing a 20-4 run for the rest of the frame. Elgedawy was a huge reason why the Lady Toppers opened up a 17-point advantage, scoring 13 points for the Lady Toppers. The Alexandria, Egypt, native tallied a double-double in just the first half with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Going into the halftime break, WKU led FAU 39-22.

Elgedawy continued her dominance inside during the third quarter, knocking down layups on three straight possessions and spurring a single-handed 6-0 run for the Lady Toppers. FAU employed its own 5-0 run to trim its deficit to 20 with 1:47 left, 49-29.

After not scoring a point for four minutes throughout the middle part of the frame, the Lady Toppers concluded the third period on an 8-0 run. Niang scored her first points of the contest by converting an and-one layup and a 3-pointer. WKU’s resurgence was aided by FAU failing to convert a field goal for the last 5:13 of clock in the period.

The Lady Toppers enjoyed a 57-29 lead to begin the final quarter. Niang and freshman center Kallie Searcy came off the bench and buoyed the Lady Toppers on offense during the frame, scoring eight and six points, respectively.

The Owls were not too keen on letting their opponent skate to an easy win, actually outscoring WKU 24-21 in the period. FAU scratched and clawed with WKU down the stretch, knocking down two 3-pointers in the closing minutes of the contest. Despite their best efforts, the Owls still fell by 31 on their home court to the Lady Toppers.

Following the win, the Lady Toppers will return home for a weekday matchup with Southern Mississippi (9-9, 1-4 C-USA). WKU met the Lady Eagles in the championship game of the C-USA Tournament in 2015 and 2017, winning both games. The Lady Toppers will look to continue their recent success Thursday at 6 p.m. in Diddle Arena.

Women’s basketball reporter Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @drakekizer_.