Strong first half propels WKU to win over Old Dominion, ending three-game skid


Marshall C. Canupp

Lady Topper’s sophomore guard Hope Sivori (1) , runs around freshman forward Jaylin Foster (11) to get a shot up in during their matchup agaisnt the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs on Feb. 5th in Diddle Arena.

Joseph Thompson, Women's Basketball Reporter

The Lady Toppers Basketball team (15-7, 8-3 C-USA) ended their three-game losing streak after a strong first-half performance against the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs (16-5,6-3 C-USA) propelled them to a 71-57 win Saturday afternoon at Diddle Arena.

The Lady Toppers had an outstanding performance on offense, despite only scoring one field goal in the third quarter. WKU shot 21-of-56 (37.5%) from the field and 8-of-22 (36.4%) from the three-point line. 

WKU did a solid job at moving the ball against the Lady Monarchs, finishing the game with 13 assists. WKU grabbed 23 offensive rebounds and turned them into 13 second-chance points. 

“For this young team to turn around after the Charlotte game — and Charlotte is a good team, if not the best team in the conference — we feel we played well enough to win that game, and come back and play and perform this way,” WKU head coach Greg Collins said. “This team doesn’t have any quit in them. There’s a whole lot of fight.”

The Lady Toppers’ defense was the story of the game. They outrebounded the Lady Monarchs 51-30 while holding them to 22-of-62 (35.5%) from the field and 6-of-26 (23.1%) from behind the arc. 

WKU forced 12 ODU turnovers and converted them into 14 points. The Lady Toppers grabbed six steals and played disciplined defense all afternoon, only committing 11 fouls. Freshman guard Alexis Mead said defense and rebounding were the main points of the game that Collins stressed pre-game.

“That was the main focus of the game: rebound,” Mead said. “Since the start of the season every game, not just this game, the game before that too, we can win any game if we rebound.”

Freshman Jaylin Foster and Mead were the standout players of the game. The five-foot-five Mead had a team-high 15 points and had the team high in rebounds with eight. Foster scored 13 points, shooting 2-of-3 from three and grabbed six rebounds. 

“I think we were tired of getting out rebounded,” Foster said. “We knew we were losing because of rebounding, so the fact that we wanted to rebound today was great.”

The Lady Toppers opened the game with two consecutive three pointers. Foster and freshman guard Mya Meredith both got off to big starts, scoring 10 of the team’s first 14 points. WKU was stellar on both ends of the floor in the first quarter, holding ODU to 5-of-15 (33.3%) the field. The offense was sensational, scoring 27 points in that quarter.

The Lady Toppers were just as potent on offense and defense as they were in the first quarter, outscoring the Lady Monarchs 16-11 in the second quarter. WKU’s starting five dominated the first half. They combined for 32 of the team’s 43 first-half points. The Lady Toppers led 43-22 at halftime.

Old Dominion started to chip away at the deficit in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Toppers 22-6 and holding WKU to 1-of-16 shooting from the field. The Lady Toppers turned the ball over six times in the period, which led to eight Lady Monarch points. 

WKU returned to their usual play in the fourth quarter. They shot 3-of-3 from the three-point line in the fourth quarter and held ODU to under 50% shooting in the quarter. The Lady Toppers outscored the Lady Monarchs 22-13 in the fourth quarter.

WKU will play the Florida Atlantic Owls Thursday at 5 p.m. in FAU Arena in Boca Raton, Fla.

Women’s Basketball Reporter Joseph Thompson can be reached at [email protected].