Abdelgawad’s 33 points leads the Lady Toppers to a 92-88 double overtime win over Fairleigh Dickinson


WKU Athletics

Western Kentucky University Lady Toppers celebrate their one point win over the Charlotte Lady 49ers: Tori Hunter (21), Fatou Pouye (12), Meral Abdelgawad (40).

Camden Bush , Sports Reporter

WKU (7-4) won a nailbiter in double overtime Friday night 92-88 over the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (4-5) in comeback fashion. The win gives the Lady Toppers their second consecutive win in the midst of a three-game road stand and their sixth in their last seven games. 

WKU senior guard Meral Abdelgawad led all players with 33 points, shooting 11-of-21 from the field and 3-of-4 from behind the arc. She came down with six rebounds to go along with three assists.  

Fairleigh Dickinson’s junior guard Aniya Bell scored 27 points, 18 coming in the first half, while shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from three. She came down with nine boards while contributing three assists and two steals. 

Fairleigh Dickinson won the tip but failed to score on its first possession. Freshman guard Alexis Mead opened the scoring with a floater on WKU’s first possession. The Lady Toppers started the game on a 7-0 run before junior guard Dahomee Forgues nailed a jumper, putting the Knights on the board. 

Both teams went back-and-forth before Bell drained a three-pointer to cut the WKU lead to 15-13. Fairleigh Dickinson inched closer when Bell hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter, cutting the lead to 18-17. 

The Knights took their first lead of the game with a jumper made by graduate forward Madison Stanley. After trading baskets, Bell hit her third three-point basket of the first half midway through the second quarter. Fairleigh Dickinson continued building its lead throughout the second period.  

The Knights lead 39-31 at the half. Bell ended the half with 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting. The Lady Toppers were led by Abdelgawad and freshman guard Mya Meredith, who each put up eight points in the first half. 

Mead opened the second half scoring with a floater. Both teams traded buckets to open the half, until Bell was called for a technical foul. Freshman guard Macey Blevins made and missed one at the charity strike before Meredith made a putback layup, cutting the WKU deficit to 49-42. 

Freshman guard Jenna Walker hit the Lady Topper’s first three-point bucket of the second half with 1:32 remaining. Bell finished the quarter with two free-throws, giving Fairleigh Dickinson a 56-47 lead.

Both teams traded buckets to open up the fourth quarter. Abdelgawad responded after a timeout with a tough and-one basket. The basket sparked a 9-4 run by WKU before Abdelgawad drilled a three pointer, cutting the lead 65-61 to with 3:45 left in the game.  

Meredith hit a layup and was fouled. She missed the free throw, but Abelagawad was fouled on the rebound. She hit both free throws to cut the lead to 67-65. Abdelgawad made another and-one to make it a one possession game with 46 seconds left in regulation. 

After a layup by Stanley, Blevins hit a three-pointer with 16 seconds left. Senior guard Rachael Niles hit two free throws for Fairleigh Dickinson before Blevins came in clutch again, hitting a contested stepback three to tie the game at 74 apiece with 10 seconds left. The Knights failed to score at the end of regulation, sending the game to overtime. 

Both teams went back-and-forth to open overtime until Bell scored four straight, giving Fairleigh Dickinson a three-point lead with 2:14 remaining in overtime. Abdelgawad hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1:15 remaining. With 19 seconds remaining, the Knights came down with two offensive boards, forcing WKU to foul. 

Niles made 1-of-2 free throws, extending the Fairleigh Dickinson lead to 81-78. Sophomore guard Devyn Scott fouled Blevins. Blevins hit the first, but missed the second shot at the line. Abdelgawad grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She hit both free throws to tie it back up at 81 apiece. Niles missed a layup, sending the game to double overtime.

Both teams started slow in the second overtime period until the Lady Topper’s sophomore guard Hope Sivori hit a contested layup to give WKU a 87-86 lead. Fairleigh Dickinson’s Scott and WKU’s Abdelgawad traded baskets, making it 89-88 WKU lead with 27 seconds remaining. 

Bell missed a three-pointer. Junior guard Celia Carbonell grabbed an offensive board before Abdelgawad stripped her under the basket. The Knights fouled Abdelgawad with three seconds left. 

Abdelgawad hit the first of two free throws but missed the second. WKU was able to secure the rebound after the missed free throw, but the ball was knocked out of bounds. After an official review, the ball was given back to WKU. Abdelgawad hit a layup on the inbound, closing out the game with a 92-88 Lady Topper victory.

Up next, WKU wraps up its three-game road stretch against the Belmont Bruins on Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. CT.