WKU plagued by poor free throw shooting in loss at Northwestern

Brad Stephens

Northwestern gave WKU plenty of second-half chances

to get back in the game on Tuesday night.

The Lady Toppers, who shot 75 percent on free throws

in their season opener against Towson, were sent to the foul line

19 times in the second half by the Wildcats.

But WKU converted on just seven of those attempts and

lost 71-57 in its road opener.

“When I say control the things we can control, I feel

free throw shooting is something we can control,” Head Coach Mary

Taylor Cowles told WKU’s Big Red Radio Network following the game.

“Those are automatic points that we’ve got to be able to count


The Lady Toppers’ worst free throw-shooting stretch

came in the final minutes of the game.

Northwestern led 66-50 when senior forward Keisha

Mosley missed a foul shot on a three-point play attempt.

Less than a minute later, senior forward Teranie

Thomas made the second of two free throws, but then missed a pair

that would’ve cut the Wildcat lead to 12 if made.

Freshman forward Chasity Gooch then missed two free

throws soon after.

“We shoot 84 percent in our exhibition game (a Nov. 6

win over Kentucky Wesleyan), we shoot 75 percent Saturday in that

game and we just fell apart at the free throw line tonight,” Cowles


The Lady Toppers were also plagued by a slow start

that saw Northwestern jump out to a 12-2 lead.

WKU eventually cut the deficit to five, at 30-25, but

that was the closest it would get for the rest of the game.

A 6-0 run in the final minute of the first half,

accompanied by two Lady Topper turnovers, sent Northwestern to the

locker room with a 36-25 lead.

“That hurt us, but it hurt us in a momentum-shift

sort of situation,” Cowles said. “We go in at halftime down 11, as

opposed to five, or opposed to three, or opposed to maybe even two…

We’ve got to get better at that kind of situation.”

The Wildcats came out of the break with a Danielle

Diamant jumper and a Karly Roser fastbreak layup, and led

comfortably for the remainder of the game.

Cowles attributed much of the Lady Toppers’ struggles

to Northwestern’s size.

No one in the Wildcats’ starting lineup was shorter

than 5-foot-10, and saw two 6-foot-5 players, (Diamant and Alex

Cohen) play significant minutes.

“Position by position, this will probably be the

biggest, most physical team that we will play this year,” Cowles

said. “They are extremely strong and powerful at every


Forward Kendall Hackney led Northwestern with 17

points and six rebounds, while Diamant added 15 points and nine


For the Lady Toppers, senior forward LaTeira Owens

led the way with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Freshman guard Alexis Govan added 11 points, five

assists and four steals in her first start.

But Govan also had five of WKU’s 21 turnovers. 

Cowles said her team’s giveaways cost her team

several potential scoring chances.

“Twenty-one turnovers — we cannot put ourselves in

that position,” Cowles said. “Our goal is 15 or less, is what we

would like to have per game. You take six turnovers away tonight,

and give ourselves an opportunity to score, once again it could be

a difference in the ballgame.”

The Lady Toppers’ next game is a 2 p.m. Sunday

against No. 8 Duke in Diddle Arena.

“What we’re excited about is another opportunity back

home in Diddle,” Cowles said. “We know our fans will be there.

It’ll be another great Sunday afternoon ballgame.”