Lady Toppers start conference slate early against Troy

Cole Claybourn

The start of the season hasn’t gone the way Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles or the Lady Toppers envisioned it.

But with a game against a conference opponent earlier in the schedule than the rest of the Sun Belt Conference, WKU (0-5) is looking to start a “new season” at Troy (1-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

“We always talk about how there’s three seasons in a basketball season: the non-conference season, the conference season, and the post-season,” Cowles said. “We’re in the second season now, and we’re 0-0.

“But we’ve got several things that we’ve got to get done in this conference game to put ourselves on the right track.”

Cowles said while it’s good to have a fresh start, the more important thing is that WKU is getting to play. She said that’s the only way the Lady Toppers are going to right the ship.

The Lady Toppers have struggled mightily so far this season, and it goes deeper than just an 0-5 record. They’re shooting a combined 35 percent from the field, averaging just fewer than 24 turnovers a game, and haven’t held a lead later than 18:33 left in the first half.

“Nothing’s clicked at this point,” Cowles said. “There are a lot of missed lay-ups, a lot of missed free throws. That goes back to the mental mistakes that we’re making.

“Until we get ourselves focused like we need to be, it will continue to be that way.”

Even though the Lady Toppers are averaging 54 points a game and haven’t scored more than 55, they’re still averaging two more points a game than Troy. Troy is also shooting just as poorly as WKU at a 35 percent.

WKU’s also 3-1 all-time at Troy.

But Cowles said even with some of the stats on their side, she’s not overlooking the game.

“It’s a tough environment to play in,” she said. “But we’re looking forward the opportunity to play again and work on some of these things that we’re struggling with.”

Senior point guard Amy McNear said to counter the tough environment, the Lady Toppers will need to bring energy – something that’s been absent throughout the first five games.

Junior forward LaTeira Owens said the energy has been coming in spurts, and for some reason, the Lady Toppers can’t seem to harness it throughout the entire game.

“We’ll be fine,” Owens said. “We just need to make sure we bring energy, play smart, and play hard.”