WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Lady Toppers drop back-to-back Sun Belt road games

Michael Casagrande

Coach Mary Taylor Cowles said she hoped her team would keep the momentum from a pair of home wins last weekend.

But the momentum didn’t make the trip west, as Western dropped two Sun Belt Conference road contests this weekend.

The Lady Toppers lost 80-72 on Thursday at Louisiana-Lafayette and 73-70 at New Mexico State on Saturday.

The losses, Cowles said, resulted from poor fundamentals. For two and a half hours, Cowles showed film from the weekend losses in hopes of curing the miscues.

“We needed that two and a half hours today,” Cowles said. “The film doesn’t lie.”

The two losses sent Western, (9-11, 3-3 Sun Belt Conference) who was second in the East Division, down to fourth.

A 3-point attempt at the final horn from senior guard Leslie Logsdon that would have forced overtime did not fall against NMSU, to complete the winless weekend.

Freshman guard Charlotte Marshall scored a career-high 16 points in the NMSU loss Saturday.

Playing away from Diddle Arena has been hazardous for the Lady Toppers. Their 2-7 road record is not acceptable, sophomore guard Tiffany Porter-Talbert said.

“Obviously there is a problem,” she said. “On the road, we have to keep our focus for 40 minutes. We have spurts of greatness and we have times when we look like an All-American team, but we have to keep that up for 40 minutes.”

The loss came despite a late 8-0 Lady Topper run that tied the game at 70 with 2:13 remaining after a layup by sophomore forward Krystal Gardner.

The layup, however, would be the last Western points as Keairra Moore made a free-throw and Sinnamonn Garrett made a layup with 14 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Logsdon and Porter-Talbert led the team with 19 points a piece.

The Western locker room was intense following the loss, senior guard Elisha Ford said.

“It was a little rough,” she said. “At this point, there is a lot of frustration because we know how good of a team that we are and how much better of a team we could be. We just are not getting it done right now.”

The loss Thursday at Lafayette (10-7, 4-2) did not have the same last-second drama.

Morgan Mayon dashed Western’s hope of a victory with 1:33 left in the game by knocking down a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired after the Lady Toppers closed the deficit to four points.

Porter-Talbert led all Western scorers with 19 points and 13 rebounds to earn a double-double.

It will not get any easier for Western as it travels to Middle Tennessee State on Thursday. The Lady Toppers beat the Lady Raiders 86-83 in the Sun Belt Tournament Championship game last season.

Reach Michael Casagrande at [email protected].