Lady Toppers conquer Troy 93-66 to snap losing skid

WKU senior guard Chaney Means dribbles the ball up court past Troy freshman guard Chant Lewis during the second half of their at Diddle Arena, Wednesday, February 12th, 2014. The Lady Toppers won the game 93-66. (Ian Maule/HERALD)

Tyler Lashbrook

WKU trailed 13-11 six minutes into its match up against Troy Wednesday night in Diddle Arena.

It was the last time it trailed.

A pair of free throws from junior forward Chastity Gooch tied the game at 13 and jump-started a 17-0 Lady Toppers run. They controlled the game on both ends of the floor from there, en route to a 93-66 win, snapping a three-game losing skid for WKU (15-8, 7-5 Sun Belt Conference).

“I’m just proud of the first five that stepped on the floor because I talked to them about setting the tone and I think that’s what happened,” coach Michelle Clark-Heard said.

Troy (8-14, 4-7 Sun Belt) entered the contest leading the Sun Belt in points per game (80.2) and held the nation’s fourth leading scorer in Joanna Harden to just two points in the first half. 

Harden went on to match WKU’s Kendall Noble with a game-high 26 points, respectively.

Five Lady Toppers scored in double-figures.  Following Noble’s 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists was Gooch with 22 points and nine rebounds.  Sophomore guard Micah Jones chipped in 17 points, all of which came in the first half.

“We came out, we had a lot of energy,” Noble said.

WKU was all over the floor, cutting back door on offense and zipping through passing lanes on the defensive end. That defense forced Troy  into 24 turnovers and 38 percent shooting.

Back-to-back long-range jumpers from Jones gave the Lady Toppers a 21-point advantage with just over four minutes remaining in the first half.

They went into halftime with a 52-19 lead, forcing Troy into 15 turnovers and holding the Trojans to just 28 percent shooting from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

WKU never let the lead out of their grip; the Lady Toppers maintained a 30-plus point lead halfway through the period.

Heard called off the dogs with a little over eight minutes remaining, pulling Gooch with the Lady Toppers up 36 points.

“I think the biggest thing is they never faltered,” Heard said. “This is a resilient group; I love coaching them.”

WKU will host South Alabama (7-14, 5-6 Sun Belt) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Diddle Arena.