Notes: WKU hopes to match ‘physical’ Northwestern team in Diddle

Cole Claybourn

The Lady Toppers opened up their season with a 16-point loss at Louisiana Tech on Tuesday. But they’ll get a chance to get their record back to .500 and do so at home as they take on Northwestern (2-0) on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Northwestern is coming off of a nine-point over LSU, and Cowles said she knows just how good the Wildcats are.

“They’re very physical and a very well-coached basketball team,” she said. “They’re very structured, but they know how to play basketball.

“We’ll see some man-to-man and some zone defense. They run a lot of (offensive) sets with a lot of different options — back screens, down screens, flares, curls, pops. They’ve got a well-rounded cast of young ladies.”

Cowles said the Lady Toppers simply can’t make the same mistakes they made in Tuesday’s game against Louisiana Tech, namely 26 turnovers and shooting poorly in the first half.

“We had let downs on both ends,” she said. “We just need to understand our defensive game plan from the beginning. Not letting those let downs filter in to the defensive end. We’ve got to handle their defensive pressure better.

“Those are things that are very much fixable once we get back to the practice court.”

WKU looking to build momentum at home

Thursday night’s game against Northwestern is the Lady Toppers’ only home game in the month of November. They won’t return to Diddle Arena until Dec. 7 when the play Kent State.

Cowles said that makes it even more important for them to get a win at home to boost their momentum when they head back on the road.

“It’s nice to play in Diddle. We love playing in Diddle,” she said. “But the competition doesn’t get any easier when we’re here. The fact that we’re at home is great, but we’ve got to prepare ourselves and be ready to play.”

Junior forward LaTeira Owens said a win at home is important to send a positive message to the fans.

“We want our fans to see us play hard,” she said. “It’s good to have momentum going on the road.”

Lady Tops looking to use Mosley’s Big 10 experience

Before transferring to WKU in her sophomore season, junior forward Keisha Mosley spent her freshman year at Purdue.

Mosley said she knows how Northwestern plays and added that she and the other players will try to utilize that knowledge to their advantage.

“From what I remember, they’re a big team,” she said. “They like playing a lot of 2-3 zone, and just zone period. If we come out and run the floor well, we’ll be really successful.

“Big Ten teams are just big. That’s all I can really say about that. Every school in the Big Ten is big.”

Junior forward LaTeira Owens said the Lady Toppers are going to be picking Mosley’s brain about Northwestern’s style to help prepare for the game.

“(Mosley) can let us know how they play and what to expect because we haven’t played them,” she said. “It’s a good thing that she’s from the Big Ten and she can help us prepare.”

WKU looking to utilize post depth

Cowles said this year’s team has a lot more depth in the post than in recent years and said that will be important in neutralizing Northwestern’s height.

“Our post game is strong, and it needs to continue to be strong,” she said. “We’re going up against a much bigger team than us, so we’re going to have to play smart and not put ourselves in difficult spots offensively, or defensively.”

WKU will have a tough battle going against senior center Amy Jaeschke, who scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in Northwestern’s first game against Dartmouth. Jaeschke followed it up with a 28-point performance against LSU.

Sophomore forward Kendall Hackney and junior forward Brittany Orban both had 16 points and 12 rebounds, respectively, against Dartmouth, while Orban had 17 rebounds against LSU.

Cowles said to counter that, she needs to see more from senior forward Arnika Brown than what she’s seen so far. Brown sat out the first exhibition game and saw limited action in the second exhibition due to an apparent stomach virus.

But Brown only played 13 minutes in the Lady Toppers’ season opener at Louisiana Tech and didn’t score.

“Arnika is a first-team All-Conference player, and there’s no question or doubt about that,” Cowles said. “She’ll continue to play and get in the gym extra.

“Good players just go through things like this some times and you just have to continue to coach them and they have to continue to stay focused.”