Lady Toppers beat Troy for first road win of year

Brad Stephens

WKU can finally put its road demons to bed.

The Lady Toppers came into Saturday’s game at Troy without a road win since Feb. 19, 2011, dropping 13 straight on opponents’ home floors.

But WKU dominated the Trojans in the second half at Sartain Hall en route to a 59-36 win, breaking both the road losing streak and a five-game overall losing streak.

The Lady Toppers, after holding a slim 24-22 halftime margin, outscored Troy 35-14 in the game’s final 20 minutes.

“We just really, really did a great job defensively of limiting them to one shot in the second half,” Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles told WKU’s Big Red Radio following the game. “From what we were doing defensively we complimented ourselves offensively.”

Freshman guard Danay Fothergill led the charge for WKU (7-17, 4-8 Sun Belt Conference), scoring 15 points and shooting 4-of-7 from 3-point range.

The former Pulaski Southwestern High School standout’s 15 points was a career-high, surpassing a 12-point output on Nov. 22, 2011 against Wright State.

The Lady Toppers also got big nights from senior forward LaTeira Owens (12 points, six rebounds) and sophomore guard Chaney Means (two points, six assists, four steals).

“The thing I like about Chaney’s stat line tonight is that when you talk about a guard, you talk about a point guard — six assists, two turnovers, one block, four steals. That’s a really nice stat line for a point guard,” Cowles said.

“I think what we’re starting to see is that Chaney and (sophomore guard) Ellen (Sholtes)…and (freshman guard) Alexis (Govan), Chaney, Ellen, Alexis and Danay, Alexis, Chaney and Danay, those kids can play together and they are a nice combination.”

Troy (2-21, 1-11) tied the game at 24 early in the second half on a jumper from guard Ivea Nagy.

But the Lady Toppers took over from there, launching a 7-0 run on the strength of two buckets from freshman forward Chastity Gooch and a Fothergill 3-pointer.

Following a Troy free throw, layups by Govan and Owens stretched the WKU lead to 35-25.

The comfortable second half was a welcome sight for the Lady Toppers, who have struggled at times this year closing teams out in the final 20 minutes.

“Coach told us coming into the game we’d have to play 40 minutes,” Fothergill said. “And that’s what we did, we played the whole game.”

WKU led Troy in almost every statistical category on Saturday.

The Lady Toppers beat the Trojans on the offensive boards 14-5, and overall on the boards 42-32.

WKU notched 11 steals from a Troy team which turned the ball over 17 times, compared to 14 turnovers for the Lady Toppers.

The Lady Toppers also held the Trojans to 0-of-6 on 3-point shooting.

The win on Saturday clinched a season sweep of Troy for WKU, after the Lady Toppers beat the Trojans 64-38 in Diddle Arena on Jan. 7.

Guard Sophie Kleeman (11 points) was the only Troy player to score in double-figures on Saturday.

It was the second straight solid performance for WKU, which dropped a 67-64 nail-biter at Middle Tennessee State on Wednesday.

“I think we had a little fire in us,” Fothergill said. “(The MTSU) game kind of ticked us off…Tonight we came out and got it done.”