Meredith returns, Lady Toppers force 35 turnovers in first win of the season


Tucker Covey

WKU sophomore forward Jaylin Foster (11) dive for the all after it was stolen from Miami University players in E.A. Diddle Arena on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. WKU won 91-55.

Cole McIntire, Sports reporter

WKU Women’s Basketball (1-2) earned its first win of the season after defeating the Miami of Ohio Redhawks (1-3) 91-55 Monday night in Diddle Arena. 

The Lady Toppers’ defense was the story of the game. The home squad forced the Redhawks to commit 35 turnovers. WKU took 23 steals and dominated the glass with 17 offensive rebounds, creating 16 second-chance points. 

Reigning Conference USA Freshmen of the Year, sophomore Mya Meredith, returned to action against the Redhawks. Meredith suffered an ACL tear last season in a victory over Old Dominion. Meredith played in limited minutes,  scoring five points and grabbing five rebounds in her first game since early February. 

WKU was led by junior guard Aaliyah Pitts, who scored 19 points, collected five rebounds and contributed one steal. Additionally, sophomore Jaylin Foster produced a double-double with 10 rebounds and 11 points, five of those boards coming on offense. 

Another bright spot for the Lady Hilltoppers was freshman Josie Gilvin who scored 12 points and was a defensive force for the Hilltoppers creating fastbreak opportunities. Gilvin would go on to produce four steals for the red and white. 

“I was watching film and I should have got [Josie] in more situations where she can be disruptive,” Collins said.

The first quarter was closely contested. The Lady Toppers were 3-11 from behind the arc. WKU shot 27.3% from the field, compared to Miami of Ohio’s 35.75%.

What kept the early game close for WKU was an advantage in the hustle stats. WKU had three offensive rebounds while Miami had zero. The suffocating defense was persistent in the quarter with WKU forcing seven Miami turnovers. 

Miami held a 21-19 lead to begin the second quarter, but the Lady Toppers were pristine in their ability to get to the charity stripe. WKU built a 7-0 run solely on free throws to take the lead. WKU closed the first half with a 17-5 run. 

“We have definitely been working on [pressing] in practice,” Pitts said. “Just getting up on the ball, especially in the press, early up and just forcing those turnovers early on.”

 The Lady Hilltoppers would close out the first half with a fast break finish by Gilvin as she swiped the ball away from the Redhawks. 

The third quarter featured dominant play from WKU. The Lady Toppers dictated the pace and played physical basketball, outscoring the Redhawks 33-13. The visitors only shot eight times from the field in the quarter, making two buckets.

“We work really hard on our defense,” Collins said. “We try to let defense drive the offense.”

The fourth quarter was even. Both squads grabbed 16 points as the WKU bench got in some extra reps in to close the contest. 

The Lady Toppers will now travel to Ithaca, New York, to play the Cornell University Lady Bears on Friday, Nov. 25.