Turnovers haunt Lady Tops in 80-54 loss to No. 8 Duke

Senior forward LaTeira Owens jumps for a rebound Sunday during WKU’s 80-54 loss to Duke at Diddle Arena.

Kurt Carson

At halftime on Sunday against No. 8 Duke, WKU had more turnovers than points.

That was the kind of night the Lady Toppers endured on Sunday as they fell 80-54 and finished the game with 35 turnovers, which lead to 40 Blue Devil points.

The 26-point loss was the worst home defeat for the Lady Toppers since 1976.

“Their overall pressure was just very, very intense — not simply in the full-court but even in the half-court man,” Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles said. “For a lot of us in uniform tonight I think that really came at us very strong.”

Cowles said her team was able to see what it “takes to be the eighth-ranked team in the country.”

Sophomore guard Chaney Means said the Blue Devils simply did a great job of full-out denial on defense.

“They were pressuring everyone,” Means said. “It was just making it hard for everyone to get open and get where we needed to run our offense.”

Freshman guard Danay Fothergill and forward Chasity Gooch led the way for WKU, scoring 11 points each.

But the Lady Toppers had trouble stopping Duke from getting the ball inside and scoring easy baskets while also finding it difficult to capitalize on their inside offensive game. The Blue Devils outscored WKU 48-18 in the paint.

“They had a bigger, stronger and more physical post and it really took away some opportunities for us to score in the paint,” Cowles said.

Duke used a 14-0 run late in the first half to build a comfortable lead and were able to hold it for the remainder of the game.

Sophomore guard Tricia Liston led the Blue Devils in scoring, posting 22 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field.

One bright spot for the Lady Toppers was the success they found from 3-point range.

WKU shot 8-for-12 from behind the arc leading to 24 of their 54 points being scored from the 3-point line. Fothergill and Means hit three 3-pointers each.

The Lady Toppers will look to get back on track Tuesday as they host Wright State at 2 p.m. 

Cowles said while this game is over, the team has to be able to take something good, like shooting well from 3-point range, from the defeat.

“We’ve got to pull positives out of this,” she said. “We needed something like that to happen.”