Mead’s career day leads Lady Toppers past Sycamores

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The Lady Toppers took on the KSU Thorobrettes in a regular season matchup on Nov. 21, 2021 at Diddle Arena.

Joseph Thompson, Women's basketball reporter

The Lady Toppers improved to .500 (3-3) after defeating the Indiana State Sycamores (1-3) 83-65 Wednesday afternoon at home in Diddle Arena.

WKU trailed the Sycamores at the half, but a strong final 20 minutes of play allowed the Lady Toppers to put away the game.

“It’s priceless, because they need these moments for confidence and experience,” head coach Greg Collins said. “…By the time we get to conference [play], we need to be seasoned enough – we don’t need a whole bunch of easy games, we don’t need a whole bunch of too difficult games. We need games like this where we had to come back from a little bit of adversity.”

The Lady Toppers were efficient offensively throughout. WKU shot 51% from the field and 46% from deep (13-28). WKU also improved its free throw shooting, something that has been a point of concern for the Lady Toppers this season. They shot 22-29 from the free throw line (75.9%).

The Lady Toppers’ defense was solid as well. WKU held the Sycamores to just 40% shooting from the field and forced 21 turnovers that led to 24 points. The Lady Toppers did lose the rebounding battle 31-34, but made it up in transition by scoring 18 fast-break points to just eight from Indiana State.

Freshman guard Alexis Mead was the standout player of the game. She scored a career-high 25 points, shooting 5-of-8 from the three point line. Senior forward Meral Abdelgawad had a solid game as well, chipping in 21 points and four rebounds.

“I just felt good out there,” Mead said. “I didn’t have a good first half, so I wanted to come out that second half and lead the team better, not just in points but in energy. Our energy wasn’t good in that first half so I wasn’t really caring too much how much I was scoring, it was more about getting my team to be there with me.”

“She’s always in the gym,” Abdelgawad said about her teammate. “She’s always in the gym, that’s why she’s scoring 25 points today. She’s playing hard. I’m so proud of her.”

The Lady Toppers started the game hot from the three point line. They hit 4-of-7 threes in the first quarter, outscoring ISU 24-16 in the opening frame. Adbelgawad hit two of those shots from deep. 

The Sycamores slowed the Lady Toppers down in the second quarter, outscoring WKU 24-12. The Lady Toppers turned the ball over seven times in the second frame and couldn’t seem to find an answer to slow down the Sycamore’s offense. Indiana State led 40-36 at halftime.

Mead turned on the jets, scoring 13 of her career-high 25 points in the third quarter. The Lady Toppers only turned the ball over once in the third frame, outscoring the Sycamores 24-16 and never looking back. WKU never trailed in the game again. 

The Lady Toppers will play Tennessee State on Sunday, Nov. 28 in the second game of their three-game home stand. WKU and Tennessee State have only played four times before, the last meeting coming in 1989.

Women’s basketball reporter Joseph Thompson can be reached at [email protected].