Cowles happy with Lady Toppers’ balance

Cole Claybourn

Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles has preached all season about wanting a “balanced” team.

Based on how the Lady Toppers played in their wins over Troy and Kent State, it appears she’s getting just that.

Four players scored in double figures in both games, and she’s gotten solid production from the bench, as shown by 19 bench points in Tuesday’s win over Kent State.

 “We just had really nice balance and really even play in the first half,” Cowles said on Tuesday. “That carried over into the second half as well. We’ve seen that balance the last two games (against Troy and Kent State) and have reaped the rewards of it.”

While seniors Arnika and Hope Brown have been at the forefront of the Lady Toppers’ superb play, it really has been a total team effort for WKU as of late.

The Lady Toppers out-rebounded their opponent yet again on Tuesday — this time by eight. They also made all but five free throws and shot 48 percent from the field.

Although they were outscored by four in the post, they still scored 34 points in the paint. That was something that Cowles said was key against a Kent State team that played solid perimeter defense.

“I thought we had great balance in the post,” she said. “We knew they were going to double and sometimes triple team in the post, so I thought we were just very smart with the basketball.

“Our guards were very unselfish in getting it inside, and our post complemented them with that same unselfish-type play. They got the ball back out when they saw the double and triple team coming.”

Junior forward Keisha Mosley responded from a two-point performance against Troy with a 10-point, seven rebound performance off the bench against Kent State to give the Lady Toppers the extra boost in the post.

Mosley, who normally comes off the bench, said she just tries to be ready to come in and find her rhythm right away.

 “That’s important for all of us on the bench to do,” she said. “You never know when it’s your night, so you just have to come out and give it your all.”

Cowles called Mosley’s production “huge,” especially in the first half on Tuesday where she brought the Lady Toppers back within three with eight straight points.

Between Mosley, Arnika Brown and junior center Jasmine Johnson, the Lady Toppers were 9-of-11 from the floor in the first half against Kent State.

Junior forward Vanessa Obafemi has also showed that she’s a legitimate scoring threat off the bench. She scored six points against Troy and followed it up with nine points against Kent State.

 “Vanessa can score, she understands a good shot from a bad shot, and she’s not going to put us in a bad situation,” Cowles said. “She has been very strong defensively and just plays extremely hard.”

Arnika Brown said everyone seems to be settling in to their roles very well, and said it simply causes problems for the defense.

 “Anytime you have a team that can put up these kinds of numbers, that’s great, because your opponent can’t just focus on one player,” Brown said. “You just never know whose night it’s going to be.”