Lady Toppers drop second game in a row in their regular season finale


Kennedy Gott

Meral Abdelgawad, senior guard, is helped up off of the floor by her teammates after being knocked down. WKU Lady Topper’s women’s basketball lost their game against Marshall 80-62 on Wednesday night, March 2nd.

Joseph Thompson, Women's Basketball Reporter

The Lady Toppers (18-11, 11-7 C-USA) lost 58-51 to the Marshall Thundering Herd (15-12, 10-8 C-USA) Saturday afternoon at Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, W. Va. Marshall completed a regular-season sweep against WKU after beating them in back-to-back games.

The Lady Toppers had another poor offensive performance, shooting 19-of-57 (33.3%) from the field and 3-of-19 (15.8%) from behind the three-point line. They did an average job at moving the ball and finding an open teammate. They finished with 14 assists and had only nine turnovers.

“We just missed so many easy layups,” WKU head coach Greg Collins said. “It’s not a good thing when you shoot 30% from the field, and we had a 14% third quarter from the field. You just can’t do that. We have to be able to make those easy shots around the basket. We got too many kids that are just chucking up off-balance shots around the rim and not taking a high-percentage shot or having a chance for a foul or we’re just missing layups. So we gotta make some shots to win.”

WKU’s defense was the story of the day. They played much better than they did Thursday night. They held Marshall to 21-of-60 (35%) from the field and 7-of-32 (21.9%) from behind deep. Collins’ squad lost the rebound battle 43-41. WKU’s coaching staff made adjustments from Thursday night’s matchup with Marshall. They played a 2-3 zone and their zone was significantly more effective at neutralizing Marshall’s three-point shooting than their man-to-man.

“They hit some shots early but then we shifted into a zone,” Collins said. “They shot 21.9% from the three-point line so that’s not exactly where we got killed. It was the offensive rebounds. They got 15 offensive rebounds and that takes a toll.”

WKU won the tip-off and the Thundering Herd started the game on a 10-2 run. It looked like Marshall was going to blow the Lady Toppers out as they did in Thursday’s matchup. Senior Meral Abdelgawad was not going to let that happen. She scored nine points in the first quarter and sparked a 9-0 WKU run. Marshall led 21-15 at the end of the first quarter.

Abdelgawad scored the first three points of the second quarter. WKU continued to have trouble guarding Marshall on the three-point line. Marshall did a great job moving the ball against the WKU defense, with 10 assists in the first half. The Lady Toppers controlled the glass in the first half 18-16. WKU ended the first half on a 6-0 run and trailed 29-35 at halftime.

The Lady Toppers’ defense kept them in the game in the third quarter. They only allowed two three pointers in the third quarter. WKU still struggled to make shots in the second half and struggled narrowing down the lead.

Sophomore Selma Kulo scored four points in the opening minutes of the quarter. She sparked a 10-0 run to begin the quarter. Sophomore Hope Sivori scored her first three points and brought WKU within one point. 

Marshall was held scoreless for five minutes, but the Lady Toppers couldn’t capitalize on their run in the fourth and were scoreless for three minutes after their 10-0 run. The Lady Toppers fell 58-51. 

“We did a better job defensively, but it’s hard to win games when you don’t make any shots,” Collins said. “We will get back together and get ready for the conference tournament.”

Up next, the No. 4 seed Lady Toppers will play the No. 5 seed Alabama-Birmingham on Wednesday in the Conference USA Tournament at 1:30 p.m. CT in Frisco, Texas.

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