WKU Women’s Basketball advances to C-USA finals after win over UTSA

Freshman+guard+Acacia+Hayes+%2810%29+shoots+a+layup+during+the+matchup+with+UTSA+in+E.A.+Diddle+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+7%2C+2023.+Hayes+scored+a+total+of+31+points%2C+the+most+she+has+scored+in+a+single+game+during+the+2022-2023+season.+WKU+won+77-69.

Tucker Covey

Freshman guard Acacia Hayes (10) shoots a layup during the matchup with UTSA in E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. Hayes scored a total of 31 points, the most she has scored in a single game during the 2022-2023 season. WKU won 77-69.

Molly St. Clair

WKU Women’s Basketball(19-12) defeated the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners(13-19) 70-55 in the semifinals of the C-USA tournament on March 10 in Frisco, Texas.

The Hilltoppers secured their spot in the team’s fifth title game appearance in nine years.

Sophomore forward Jaylin Foster led WKU in points with 13 and in rebounds with four. Both junior guard Hope Sivori and freshman guard Acacia Hayes put up 10 points each in the match up. Junior guard Teresa Faustino also performed well with five of WKU’s 12 assists.

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Additionally, the Hilltoppers bench put on a show with 39 of the team’s points for the night.

WKU shot 42.9% in field goals. The Hilltoppers went 35.5% in 3-pointers and 73.3% in free throws. WKU acquired 27 total rebounds as opposed to UTSA’s 47.

WKU was leading through the majority of the first until UTSA made a three to take their first and only lead of the game near the two minute mark, making the score 9-8.

WKU trailed UTSA until four seconds left in the first when Sivori posted a three to make the game 13-12 going into the second.

The Hilltoppers led the game the whole second period, but the Roadrunners were able to keep pressure. 

Hayes began to separate WKU from UTSA with a layup mid second period to widen the lead by four. Foster furthered the lead by six with a layup mid second period, putting the score at 24-18.

With less than four minutes to go in the second period, sophomore guard Mya Meredith made a three point jumper to make the game 27-18. The Hilltoppers proceeded to go on a 7 point run, but UTSA began to return the fire.

A free throw from UTSA’s freshman forward Maya Linton made for a one possession game at 30-28. However, WKU was able to keep the lead heading into the half by four, 34-30.

At the Half, the Hilltoppers were 43.3% in field goals. Foster grabbed 10 points and three of her rebounds in the first half. Sophomore guard Alexis Mead held the lead in assists for WKU with three.

In the beginning of the third period, Mead exited the court following an ankle twist. The teams also had a slow start in the third as neither team scored for nearly three minutes until Meredith made a jumper to start the scoring. 

Later, Faustino and freshman guard Karris Allen put up back to back threes to move WKU’s lead to 13 with a score of 45-32. UTSA fought back by putting up a layup, but WKU responded immediately with another 3-pointer by Faustino, 48-34.

Sivori made a three to close the third period and maintain the gap at 53-36.

To open the fourth period, Junior guard Jordan Smith posted back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Hilltopper bench on their feet.

The Hilltoppers withheld the large lead throughout the fourth. Macey Belvins later pushed the lead to 20 with a three point jumper near the one minute mark.

UTSA attempted to close the gap until the very end, but ultimately WKU was victorious and took the win by 15 points.

WKU will face rival Middle Tennessee State University in the C-USA Championship game on March 11 at 4:30 p.m. CST. 

 

Sports editor Molly St. Clair can be reached at [email protected].