Youthful Lady Toppers drop season opener

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Freshman forward Chastity Gooch was one of four freshmen to play against Towson in WKU’s first game season.

Lucas Aulbach

Several women’s basketball players got their first taste of regular-season play this weekend as the Lady Toppers opened their season with a 67-62 loss to Towson on Saturday.

WKU features seven freshmen on its team this season, though many of them saw no playing time in the loss over the weekend.

The seniors put up the biggest numbers for WKU. Senior forward Keshia Mosley led the Lady Toppers with 12 points and had 11 rebounds, while senior forward LaTeira Owens led the team in rebounds with 12 while adding seven points.

Despite the seniors’ high level of play, WKU (0-1) was unable to pull off a big run or get any sort of consistent drive going throughout the game.

Owens said their lack of momentum ended up killing the Lady Toppers.

“After we’d try to get over the hump we’d make a mistake on defense or make a mistake on offense,” she said.

The Lady Toppers dominated the post, pulling down 51 rebounds to Towson’s 31. But WKU finished with a 32.9 field goal percentage and 7 of 24 behind the three point line, including going 1 of 13 from three-point range in the first half.

Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles said poor shooting was a big factor in the loss.

“We just simply did not shoot the basketball,” she said. “It wasn’t just inside interior shots, we didn’t shoot well from the perimeter and we’ve got to get that done.”

Fouls also contribute to WKU’s demise on Saturday. The Lady Toppers had 26 fouls in the match, with 20 coming in the second half.

Cowles said better defense would have helped to stop Towson from getting to the free throw line so often.

“I just think we weren’t disciplined in our defense and that caused us to put them at the line so early on in the second half,” she said.

The freshmen who played for WKU had a big role on Saturday, including freshman guard Danay Fothergill, who hit three big three-pointers in 24 minutes of play.

Mosley said the freshmen are going to have a big impact on the way the Lady Toppers perform this season.

“Like we said after the first game, our freshmen are good,” she said. “They come out ready to play and that’s what we need from each and every last one of them.”

Cowles said that the biggest thing the freshmen on the team need is experience at the college level.

“Unfortunately our schedule is extremely competitive, but they’re going to need some time on the floor playing basketball games at the Division I level,” she said.

She explained how important the underclassmen would be to the team, saying many freshmen would see more playing time as the season goes on and they’re going to have to respond to that increased role.

“For us to have a successful season the way we want it to go, we’ve got to have our freshmen step up for us,” Cowles said.