Lady Topper comeback falls short in loss to Denver

Brad Stephens

Much like the WKU men did earlier in the day, the WKU women dug a double-digit hole Sunday against Denver.

And like the Topper men, the Lady Toppers couldn’t climb back from the deficit.

They fell 69-62 to the Pioneers at Magness Arena in Denver, after trailing by as much as 18 in the second half.

WKU (5-12, 3-3 Sun Belt Conference) lost its second straight game overall, and ninth consecutive on the road.

The Lady Toppers fell despite getting a double-double from senior forward LaTeira Owens (18 points, 11 rebounds) while holding Denver forward Kaetlyn Murdoch, the Sun Belt Preseason Co-Player of the Year, to 10 points.

WKU, which trailed 35-27 at halftime, got off to a slow start offensively to begin the game’s final 20 minutes.

Meanwhile the Pioneers started the half on a 17-7 run to take a 52-34 run with 12:59 to play.

Lady Topper guard Vanessa Obafemi and Owens cut the lead to 13 after a 3 and two free throws at the 11:33 mark.

The teams then traded baskets for the next few minutes until freshman guard Danay Fothergill’s free throw with 4:04 to play cut the Denver lead back to single-digits at 61-52.

Owens then hit two free throws on WKU’s next possession to cut the deficit to seven.

But a three-point play hit by guard Jordan Johnston pushed the Denver lead to 64-54 with 3:20 left.

The Pioneers held the double-digit lead until the game’s last minute, when the Lady Toppers threatened to make things interesting with a Fothergill 3 and freshman guard Alexis Govan’s layup.

But Denver guard Morgan Van Piper-Rose put in two free throws to with 38 seconds left to give the Pioneers a 69-61 lead, putting the game on ice.

Van Piper-Rose scored a team-high 13 for the Pioneers, while four other Denver players reached double-figures.

Meanwhile, Owens was the only WKU player to score more than nine points.

Senior forward Keshia Mosley and freshman forward Chastity Gooch finished with nine, while Fothergill and Obafemi scored eight.

The Lady Toppers will take the court next at 7 p.m. Tuesday night back home in Diddle Arena against non-conference opponent Tennessee Tech.

The Golden Eagles beat WKU 69-59 earlier in the season.