Lady Toppers push through sluggish first half with 77-49 win

WKU forward Bria Gaines maneuvers through the lane against Southern Mississippi defenders during on January 31, 2015. WKU lost with a final score of 63-61. 

Jonah Phillips

It was a story of two halves as the Lady Toppers blew past North Texas 77-49 after trailing for nearly the entirety of the first half. 

Bria Gaines led the Lady Toppers (19-4, 8-2) in points with 17 (13 second half) as she shot 8-9 from the field.

Though, what made the difference in the game was the Lady Toppers solid defense, netting 30 points off of 28 forced North Texas turnovers.

Kendall Noble set a new WKU record in the game for steals with 10, but had a productive night otherwise with eight points, seven rebounds, 4 assists, and two blocks.  She accounted for 12 of the Lady Toppers 28 forced turnovers.

Yet the score line does not accurately reflect the battle WKU had to fight to achieve the win. 

The Lady Toppers trailed for the majority of the first half, and after tying the score three times at 11 (11:07), 17 (7:13), and 19 (5:39), WKU would finally take the lead with 2:41 remaining in the first half with two free throws from freshman Tashia Brown.  She finished with 8 points and two rebounds.

WKU went on an 8-0 run to end the half, holding a 27-21 lead. The first half included a 32.1 percent shooting average from the field while the Lady Toppers gave up 11 turnovers. Gooch led the Lady Toppers in the first half with seven points.

The Lady Toppers exploded out into the second half after a sluggish first half with a 14-2 run to bring the score to 41-23 with 17:50 to play.

Gaines (13) and Alexis Govan (9) combined for 22 of WKU’s 50 second-half points.  WKU outscored North Texas by 22 points in the second half, who scored 28.

The Lady Toppers continue their Texas road swing on Saturday, taking on Rice at 2 p.m. CT in Houston.