Cowles promises better effort against ISU

Brad Stephens

Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles didn’t hold anything back when she sat down for her postgame radio interview Wednesday night.

Cowles had just seen her WKU team lose 69-59 to Tennessee Tech in a game that wasn’t as close as its final score.

The Lady Toppers (2-7) turned it over 24 times, gave up 30 points to Golden Eagles guard Tacarra Hayes and scored just six points in the first 12 minutes of the second half.

It was a performance that caused the 10th-year WKU head coach to compare her team to “scared babies.”

“Tonight’s the first time I’ve been embarrassed with this basketball team this year,” Cowles told WKU’s Big Red Radio Network on Wednesday. “We had no effort tonight. This was an embarrassing night for our women’s basketball program.”

The Lady Toppers didn’t get much of a chance to reflect upon what went wrong against TTU.

Instead, WKU is going right back on the road, taking on Illinois State tonight at 7 p.m. in Redbird Arena.

It will be the Lady Toppers’ third game in five days, and one Cowles said will be a far cry from Wednesday’s debacle.

“We don’t have much time,” Cowles said, “but I promise you the effort will be different on Friday night at seven.”

ISU is 4-4, coming off a 66-56 loss to Illinois on Monday.

The Redbirds are led by guard Katie Broadway and her 15.8 points per game average.

ISU has also gotten contributions from guards Candace Sykes (7.9 ppg and 6.6 rebounds per game) and Jamie Russell (10.8 ppg and 4.4 assists per game).

“Illinois State is shooting lights-out right now with three kids that really know how to light it up,” Cowles said. “This team knows what they’re doing. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”

After playing ISU, WKU will come back to Diddle Arena for its Sun Belt Conference opener against Florida International at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Golden Panthers were picked in the preseason by league coaches to finish second in the Sun Belt’s East Division, one spot ahead of the Lady Toppers.

FIU is 5-3 this season, led by guard Jerica Coley and her 23.8 ppg average.

 Senior forward Keshia Mosley said the WKU team was excited to begin conference play against the Golden Panthers.

“We’ve got to look at that game as us being 0-0 in conference,” Mosley said. “We need to play like we did on Monday (in a 69-54 win over Louisiana Tech).”

The FIU game will be the fourth in seven days for the Lady Toppers, capping off one of their busiest stretches of the year.

So far it’s been an up-and-down stretch for WKU, which notched its best win of the year on Monday, then followed by dropping what Cowles called the team’s most embarrassing game of the season on Wednesday.

She said her team must learn from the TTU loss and be ready for a tough game on Friday against the Redbirds.

“We’ve got to understand how bad we were, and we’ve got to do differently,” Cowles said, “because Illinois State is a very, very good basketball team.”