Lady Toppers’ season comes to an end after second round loss to UAB in the C-USA Tournament


Kennedy Gott

Meral Abdelgawad, senior guard, attempts a layup during WKU Lady Topper’s game against Marshall on Wednesday, March 2nd. The final score was 80-62 with WKU at a loss.

Joseph Thompson, Women's Basketball Reporter

The Western Kentucky Lady Toppers (18-11, 11-7 C-USA) season comes to an end aftering a hard fought loss to the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (15-14, 8-10 C-USA) 74-62 in the second round of the Conference USA Tournament Wednesday afternoon in Frisco, Texas.

“The kids kept fighting, I think we just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter,” WKU  head coach Greg Collins said in a press release. “We put a lot of effort and energy in the third quarter. We got in a spot where we were leading the game, but those turnovers jumped up and bit us. We didn’t get shots and that led to easy shots for them as well.”

The Lady Toppers had a sub-par offensive performance against the Blazers, shooting 29-of-56 (37%) from the field and 5-of-24 (21%) from behind the three-point line. They did a poor job moving the ball against the Blazer defense. The offense had five assists and 11 bench points, all coming from sophomore guard Hope Sivori. The Lady Toppers did a great job taking care of the ball with seven turnovers for the entire game.

Coach Collins’ team had a mediocre defensive outing Wednesday afternoon. The Blazers shot 29-of-56 (52%) from the field and 7-of-16 (44%) from behind the three-point line. WKU had a tough time getting stops against the UAB offense, only forcing 11 UAB turnovers that resulted in 12 points off turnover. WKU only had four steals and did not block any UAB shots. WKU lost the rebound battle 39-34.

The Lady Toppers started the game down nine points and seemed to have trouble guarding the perimeter in the first couple of minutes. Freshmen Alexis Mead and Jaylin Foster scored six straight points for WKU to narrow the lead. Senior Meral Abdelgawad missed her first three shots but had four points in the quarter. UAB led WKU 20-17 at the end of the first quarter.

UAB junior guard Margaret Whitley was a problem for WKU in the first half, scoring 12 points by the five minute mark of the second quarter. Whitley was scoring every way possible and seemed to be the only player standing in WKU’s way. 

Sivori sparked a 9-0 run in the second quarter, scoring six of the nine points. UAB led 38-35 at the break. 

The Lady Toppers struggled in the third quarter, which seems to be a recurring theme this season. They started the quarter 1-of-5 from the field and got down 10 points in the quarter. Mead sparked a 13-2 run in the third quarter with seven points of her own. UAB was scoreless for three minutes towards the end of the quarter. WKU led 54-52 at the end of the third quarter.

The Blazers started the fourth quarter on a 12-4 run and did not look back. They dominated WKU in the fourth quarter, out-scoring them 22-8. WKU only made one of their last 10 shots to end the game.UAB won 74-62, ending the Lady Toppers’ season. 

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