WOMEN’S HOOPS: Tough break for Lady Tops

J. Michael Moore

There are several schools of thought when dealing with a losing streak – several ways to combat the pain and find a way out.

The Lady Toppers basketball team found themselves in such a thought-provoking situation over the holiday break, caught in their own mini-collapse.

Mary Taylor Cowles’ squad took to the highway, playing six of eight games away from Diddle Arena during the break – losing six, including four straight in December and January.

A number of things went wrong, but the Lady Toppers are moving on and taking only sparing glances at specific mistakes and the overall bad luck that plagued the holiday season.

With two straight victories over conference foes Arkansas State and Arkansas-Little Rock last weekend, things are looking bright for the Lady Toppers.

“Why focus on the past, there’s nothing that can change it,” Cowles said after Western’s 84-77 victory over Arkansas State Saturday night.

It’s a different picture from a few weeks ago when turnovers played havoc in the Lady Toppers’ attempts to win close games.

“What’s in the past is in the past,” junior guard Leslie Logsdon said. “We don’t go back to a game that we’ve played. We know that our main goal at the end of a ball game was taking care of the ball.”

Western turned the ball over a total of 195 times in the eight game holiday stretch – 100 in the four game funk.

Cowles looked to solve the problem by making all players carry a basketball wherever they went. She is continuing the practice through this week’s games.

She also looked to stir confidence before the Arkansas-Little Rock game on Thursday night, telling her players to forget about turnovers – to just play basketball.

The squad responded with a 78-42, 15-turnover win.

Poor shooting also played a role in the team’s year-end problems, with senior captain Kristina Covington facing some of the worst shooting demons.

Covington has responded of late with 24 points in her last two games, but went 13-for-40 during the losing streak, scoring a combined nine points against Tennessee Tech and Middle Tennessee.

She was not the reason for the Lady Toppers poor performance, but definitely a microcosm of dismal days.

But according to Cowles, she finds ways to contribute.

“That’s why she’s our senior captain,” Cowles said. “She always finds a way. Kristina is our punch. She’s the gas that makes our motor go.

“Kristina was not shooting the ball well during that time. I think that’s a direct relation to what was wrong with us. Our slump was not because of Kristina, but she is so valuable to our team, when Kristina scores our confidence level raises probably 50 percent, when Kristina is off we tend to start wondering who’s going to step up.”

The Lady Toppers have increased shooting percentage in the last two games – both victories – to 47 percent.

Cowles said she made it a point during the break to focus on the good more than bad, taking time out of practice for individual instruction.

“What we’re trying to do in practice is continue emphasizing the things that have won us seven games and that’s boxing out, playing intense defense and continuing to try and work on our shooting,” Cowles said.

The Lady Toppers will go back on the road for two-games this week, playing New Orleans (5-8, 2-1) on Thursday and South Alabama (9-6,1-2) on Saturday.


12/14 – W – Murray State – 67-60

Leslie Logsdon 19 pts. (WKU) Beth Schnackenberg 17 pts. (MSU)

12/16 – L – @ Mississippi – 79-45

Shala Reese 19 pts. (WKU) Carletta Brown 15 pts. (Ole Miss)

12/19 – L – @ Western Illinois – 66-62

Logsdon 17 (WKU) Amee Binder 14 (WIU)

12/22 – W – @ University of Illinois Chicago – 81-70

Logsdon 30 (WKU) LaKesha Williams 22 (UIC)

12/28 – L – @Arkansas 71-61

Logsdon 17 (WKU) Dana Cherry 19 (Ark.)

12/30 – L – Liberty 71-57

Reese 16 (WKU) Stephanie Walker 16 (Lib.)

1/2 – L – @ Tennessee Tech – 61-55

Reese 17 (WKU) Emily Christian, Tynisha Alexander 14 (Tech)

1/4 – L – @Middle Tennessee – 74-62

Reese 22 (WKU) Ebani Kirby 18 (MTSU)