Lady Toppers edge Ball State behind Tashia Brown’s 22 points

Junior forward Tashia Brown (10) gets ready to go up for the layup while Indiana Hoosiers Junior guard Tyra Buss (3) and forward Kym Royster (11) defendduring the Lady Toppers’ 85-74 win against Indiana University Saturday Nov. 19, 2016 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Tyler Mansfield

It came all the way down to the wire, but WKU’s big second quarter run helped narrowly pushed it past visiting Ball State University 68-61 on Wednesday evening at E.A. Diddle Arena.

“This game is always the toughest game because it’s right before Christmas Break,” Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “Just really proud of our kids’ focus. We knew it would be a battle.”

Junior forward Tashia Brown led the charge for WKU on Wednesday by scoring 22 points, grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out an assist.

Redshirt senior guard Kendall Noble dropped 11 points and pulled down 7 boards while Ivy Brown added 9 points to go along with 6 rebounds.

WKU shot 24-of-52 from the field on the night and led for the entire course of the second half and never allowed the Cardinals (6-5 overall) to comeback in the affair.

WKU’s win tied the all-time series against Ball State at 3-3 as the Cardinals fell to 1-2 all-time when playing inside Diddle Arena, losing 84-59 in Bowling Green on Dec. 21, 2014.

“I thought we ended the non-conference slate pretty strong,” Noble stated. “I think we’re coming around and getting into the rotation and getting used to playing with everybody. I think we’re starting to click.”

Both sides came out of the gates with not much to display offensively.

At the 4:11 mark of the opening quarter, the Lady Tops were shooting 2-of-8 from the floor while Ball State had only made the same amount as the scoreboard was knotted at 6-6. Noble led the way early with four out of the six points.

WKU began to take control in the second quarter as redshirt junior forward Kyvin Goodin-Rogers unleashed her game midway through the period by scoring 5 out of the 7 points she had at the time to give it a 23-18 lead with 4:34 remaining in the first half.

The Lady Toppers went on to score seven-straight and held a 33-21 advantage at the 1:24 mark of the second thanks to a 10-0 run and holding the Cardinals to a scoring drought of 2:08.

WKU went on to add four more points to its side of the stat sheet and led 37-21 at intermission.

Western Kentucky went 13-of-25 from the field in the first 20 minutes, including a 6-of-14 tally from three-point territory.

Tashia Brown and Goodin-Rogers led the way with 7 points and two rebounds each while Noble had 6 points, 4 rebounds and five assists. Ball State, as a team, shot 9-of-22 from the floor in the half.

Ball State quickly got back within 42-37 at the 4:28 mark of the third, powered by a 14-2 run.

WKU answered with a couple of jumpers throughout the remainder of the quarter, pushed by Tashia Brown’s 8 points in the 10-minute period, but it would still be tight.

“I was just playing my game,” Brown said of her dominant second half. “Just playing my game – that’s what I do. They (Ball State) gave me shots and I just took them.”

Ball State would get as close as three at 55-52 with 1:45 left to play. Although they hung around until the end, the Cardinals would never get back out in front of the Lady Toppers.

Jill Morrison scored 18 to lead the Cardinals while Moriah Monaco scored 12 points.

WKU will have over a week off before its next game. Clark-Heard says the players will spend the holidays with their families and then come back and get set for league games.

“This is definitely a well-needed break for them,” Clark-Heard said. “It’s been awesome to be back at home. I’m happy they get the chance to be with their families over the holidays and we’ll come back and it’ll be the ‘second season.’ We’ll be ready to go.”