WOMEN’S BASKETBALL Update: Lady Toppers begin SBC schedule Thursday

Michael Casagrande

After a semester break full of highs and lows, Western will look forward to beginning its Sun Belt Conference schedule Thursday.

The Lady Toppers have gone 4-4 since classes dismissed Dec. 12.

To begin the run, Western won one of three straight games against Southeastern Conference opponents. Ole Miss fell 73-64 in Diddle Arena five days after an 87-75 Lady Topper loss at Clemson.

A 67-64 loss to Kentucky was followed by two straight wins against Western Illinois and Murray State.

The streak would not last as Western dropped its next two games to Tennessee Tech at home and Liberty on the road.

In their eight losses this season, Coach Mary Taylor Cowles has questioned the spirit her players bring to the court.

“Our intensity is the biggest frustration with me tonight,” Cowles said following the 81-76 loss to Tennessee Tech. “Tennessee Tech is too good of a basketball team to come out flat against like we did. They were the better team on the floor tonight.”

The Lady Toppers had been playing with an even shorter bench than they were used to. Freshman guard Charlotte Marshall was sidelined with a shoulder injury since mid-December and did not see action until Sunday’s win over Illinois-Chicago.

Pope back with team

Freshman forward Cacie Pope, who is battling cancer, was back with the team Sunday. Pope received a standing ovation from the 1,703 fans in Diddle Arena before the Illinois-Chicago victory.

In October, a mass was discovered on the back of her brain. Pope returned home to California where surgery was performed to remove the mass.

Having Pope on the bench was inspirational, Cowles said.

“It’s great to have Cacie back,” she said. “She is incredible as a person; more than we could have expected.”

Pope received a medical redshirt and will not play this season, but she is enrolled in classes for the spring semester.

Logsdon passes Cowles on all-time scoring list

The milestones seem to be coming every game for senior guard Leslie Logsdon.

Logsdon became the 27th member of the Lady Topper 1,000 point club on a layup against Kentucky.

Four games later, Logsdon leapfrogged her coach on the all-time scoring list with an 18-point performance against Liberty.

After scoring 13 points against Illinois-Chicago, Logsdon moved to No. 22 with 1,089 career points.

Frericks joins team

With a limited number of players coming off the bench, junior soccer player Kelly Frericks will give Cowles another option.

Frericks joined the team after Christmas and scored her first points, since playing at Greenwood High School, on a jump shot against Liberty.

Frericks’ sister and volleyball player Megan Frericks had also been with the team for a brief period of time following the holiday.

Reach Michael Casagrande at [email protected]