Cowles wants more touches for Owens

Brad Stephens

LaTeira Owens is riding what may be the best stretch of her WKU career.

The Lady Toppers’ senior forward has notched three straight double-doubles, including a 22-point, 12-rebound performance in a 61-50 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock Sunday in Diddle Arena.

During that stretch, Owens, a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference third-team selection, has averaged 17 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.

That’s why, after Owens went 7-of-11 Sunday, Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles told the media she wants more touches for the 6-foot-1 Columbia, Tenn., native.

“Eleven shots is not enough shots for LaTeira Owens,” Cowles said.

Owens was one of the few bright spots for WKU (6-13, 3-4 Sun Belt) offensively against UALR, as she and fellow senior forward Teranie Thomas combined for 38 of the Lady Toppers’ 50 points.

Meanwhile, the rest of the WKU team went 5-of-28 and committed 19 turnovers.

Yet during a stretch between the 2:37 and 0:45 marks of the second half, with the Lady Toppers trailing 55-50, WKU was unable to find a way for Owens to take a shot.

The Lady Toppers’ three possessions during that final stretch instead resulted in a turnover by senior forward Keshia Mosley and missed shots by Thomas and senior guard Vanessa Obafemi.

“When you’re post produced, especially the way LaTeira did, that just really makes it a greater emphasis on getting the ball inside,” Cowles said. “Not that she’s going to take all the shots — it might be inside touches. Maybe that creates a double-team situation because of how well she’s scoring, and maybe it opens up a kick out or slash or cut.

“We’ve got to get her more touches.”

Owens’ consistency in recent weeks has been welcomed for a team which has struggled to find consistency this season.

Sunday the Lady Toppers were coming off their best offensive game of the season, a 71-58 win over Tennessee Tech on Jan. 17.

In that game, freshman guard Alexis Govan, freshman forward Chastity Gooch and Obafemi combined for 23 points.

That same trio combined for zero points against UALR.

Owens said a lack of on-court team consistency began with a lack of mental consistency.

“We all need to come in focused every day in games, in practices and come in ready,” Owens said. “We’ve just got to find it because it’s going to get later and later in the season, and then we’re looking at the wall.”

The Lady Toppers will need to find that focus this week as they go on the road, where they’re currently 0-9 this season.

This week’s trip, the annual Florida Atlantic — Florida International road swing may be one of their toughest this season.

WKU meets FAU (10-8, 5-2) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Boca Raton, then plays FIU (13-7, 3-4) at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Miami.

“We’ve just got to come ready to play,” Owens said. “They’re not easy teams.”