Sports briefs

Lady Tops win with balanced scoring

The Lady Topper basketball team finished their preseason tune-up games with a 99-59 exhibition victory over the Houston Jaguars.

Freshman forward Carla Bartee dominated a taller Jaguar front line, scoring a game-high 28 points. Sophomore guard Tiffany Porter-Talbert added 19 points, and freshman guard Charlotte Marshall grabbed 12 rebounds.

Western will open its regular season Friday at 7 p.m. when Rhode Island enters Diddle Arena for the first round of the WNIT.

Horn era opens with win

In the first game for both coach Darrin Horn and senior center Nigel Dixon, both left the court with their stamp on the outcome.

Thanks to game-highs in points (18) and rebounds (10), Dixon led a 76-67 win over EA Sports Saturday in a game where Horn’s style of play led to 10 fast-break points and 36 percent shooting from the 3-point line for Western.

The Toppers also delivered on one of Horn’s preseason goals of improving their rebounding by winning that battle too, 54-30. Last season, Western ranked fifth in the Sun Belt Conference in rebounding margin, and Horn wants to be first this year.

Senior forward Todor Pandov’s return following a knee injury was not one to remember. After making Western’s first field goal, Pandov failed to score until late in the second half, scoring 6 points overall.

Former Topper Derek Robinson returned to the Diddle floor Saturday as a member of the EA Sports team. Robinson played only four minutes and missed his only field goal attempt.

The Toppers will return to wrap up their preseason schedule Saturday at 7 p.m. when ENZ Bonds visits for an exhibition tilt.

– Michael Casagrande and Keith Farner