Lady Tops fall to Mississippi State in Preseason WNIT final, 88-77

Redshirt sophomore guard Kendall Noble (12) goes up for a shot against a Central Arkansas defender during the Lady Toppers’ Nov. 14 game against Central Arkansas. Noble scored 17 points and snagged 12 rebounds in WKU’s 93-57 victory over the Sugar Bears. Brandon Carter/HERALD

Kyle Williams

Despite holding a lead for the majority of the game, Mississippi State used a late 12-2 run to sink the Lady Toppers, 88-77, in the Preseason Women’s NIT Championship game on Sunday.

Senior forward Chastity Gooch led the way for WKU (3-1) with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Senior guard/forward Alexis Govan also totaled 20 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Redshirt sophomore guard Kendall Noble added 19 points on eight-of-14 shooting and 10 rebounds.

WKU forced 22 Mississippi State (4-0) turnovers, 17 of which came in the first half, resulting in a 42-39 halftime lead for the Lady Toppers.

The Lady Toppers held a 61-52 lead at the 12:58 mark of the second half, but Mississippi State surged back to regain a 70-69 lead with 6:57 left.

WKU’s last-ditch effort was derailed by foul trouble, as Gooch, Govan and Noble all fouled out in the last four minutes of play.

The Lady Toppers are back in action on Tuesday as they travel two hours up Interstate-65 for a bout with No. 12 Louisville at 6 p.m.