Lady Toppers can’t stick with Oregon State in Vancouver Showcase

WKU forward Raneem Elgedawy (15) drives to the hoop attempting to score during WKU’s game vs. Old Dominion in E.A. Diddle Arena on Feb. WKU defeated Old Dominion 62- 48.

Drake Kizer

The WKU women’s basketball team simply did not have an answer for No. 9 Oregon State inside on Thursday night.

Despite the Lady Toppers’ success defending the 3-point line, WKU fell 74-60 in the first round of the Vancouver Showcase. The Lady Toppers (1-5) stuck with the Beavers (4-0) for most of the game thanks to a strong defensive performance. WKU swiped six steals and forced 13 turnovers, which yielded 18 points on the other end. The Lady Toppers also held OSU to 20 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

However, the Lady Toppers allowed OSU to outscore them 44-24 in the paint. That disparity, coupled with WKU’s inability to score for extended stretches throughout the game, proved to be too much for the Lady Toppers to overcome.

“I think Oregon State was cold from 3 because of our defense,” head coach Greg Collins said in  a postgame press release. “Our game plan was to take away the 3-pointer and make them beat us one-on-one to the basket. So consequently we gave up some drives to the basket…but that’s part of the learning process. We’ll take that game plan and keep working on it going forward.”

For the third straight contest, the Lady Toppers were led by redshirt junior forward Dee Givens and sophomore forward Raneem Elgedawy. Elgedawy posted 13 of her 17 points in the first two quarters, while Givens added 11 of her 16 points in the final twenty minutes of action. Givens and Elgedawy also led WKU in rebounds with seven and four, respectively.

OSU opened the game with a 3-pointer, but Elgedawy answered by making a layup on WKU’s opening possession. No team could gain much of an advantage early, as both squads traded leads back-and-forth in the opening period. Elgedawy got going late, scoring seven points in the last 2:25 to bring her first quarter total to nine. But the Beavers were able weather the early storm, knotting the score at 19-19 after one period.

Following an early 3-pointer from Givens, the Lady Toppers took a 24-23 lead over OSU. The Beavers answered with a 7-0 run, but a timely 3-pointer from redshirt junior guard Alexis Brewer brought the Lady Toppers back to within three.

From there, things went downhill for WKU. OSU responded to Brewer’s 3-pointer with one of only four makes from deep on the night. The Lady Toppers missed their last eight field goal attempts and were held scoreless for the final 4:16 of the half.

Despite a lack of production on offense from both teams during the closing minutes, the Beavers still managed to end the first half on yet another 7-0 run. After being outscored 22-12 in the second period, WKU went into the locker room trailing OSU 41-31 at halftime.

OSU began the second half by extending its lead to as much as 17 points thanks to a 6-0 run and another extended scoring drought from WKU. The Lady Toppers continued to fight, holding the Beavers to only one point during the last 3:58 of the third frame. A 3-pointer from senior guard Sidnee Bopp helped WKU add six points quickly, trimming the OSU lead to 11 entering the final quarter.

The Lady Toppers entered the final 10 minutes trailing 58-47. After starting the quarter with a lead-extending layup, OSU allowed WKU to get as close as eight points in the opening moments. Following that stretch, the Beavers took control. WKU failed to make a field goal attempt for over five minutes of clock time.

OSU also went minutes without scoring at various points throughout the quarter. An 8-0 WKU run allowed the Lady Toppers to claw back within nine points with less than two minutes to play in the contest. The Beavers ended that run with their fourth and final 3-pointer of the night. WKU failed to score another point and fell to the Beavers by 14.

The Lady Toppers were outrebounded 41-33 and allowed OSU to shoot 48.3 percent from the field. WKU also allowed three Beavers to get into double-figures, including guards Mikayla Pivec and Destiny Slocum, who each had 18 points.

This game was the first of three in three days for the Lady Toppers. Following the loss, WKU will face East Tennessee State Friday at 4:30 p.m. Depending on the results of that contest, the Lady Toppers will face either Gonzaga or Rutgers in their final game of the Vancouver Showcase on Saturday.

Sports reporter Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected]. Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.