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Lady Toppers lose in heartbreaking fashion to FIU

Eli Randolph
Guard Teresa Faustino (14) battles for the ball during WKU’s game against La Tech on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Faustino scored 11 points and WKU won 64-56.

WKU women’s basketball suffered a cataclysmic collapse Saturday, losing to FIU in the final seconds 71-68. 

Trying to avoid dropping their fifth consecutive game, the Lady Toppers led by as much as 16 in the game.  FIU went on a 9-0 run to end the game to earn the season sweep over WKU. 

Senior guard Teresa Faustino led WKU in scoring with 18 points, four rebounds, and four steals.  Junior guard Alexis Mead added 17 points, four rebounds, and seven assists.  The team forced 20 turnovers including 16 steals. 

The Lady Toppers had one of their best-scoring halves this season during the first half. The team scored 21 points on 56.3% shooting from the field.  Mead had five points and three assists in the first quarter and helped lead a high-speed offensive attack.  Faustino, who had nine points in the first half, also scored five points in the first quarter. 

WKU lead 21-15 to end the first quarter.  In the second quarter, however, the team began to stretch their lead over FIU.  Mead added another eight points on 100% shooting while Faustino added four.  WKU shot 46.7% in the quarter while holding FIU to 3-14 shooting from the field. 

FIU was hounded all throughout the first half.  They shot 2-10 from beyond the arc, gave the ball away 14 times, and were getting out-rebounded on the defensive glass, similar looks from their previous matchup.  

FIU jumped out to an 11-4 run to start the third quarter.  The Lady Toppers countered with a 9-0 run to stretch the lead to 54-40 with just under four minutes left in the third.  However, an 8-0 run by the Panthers and a 2:09 scoring drought by WKU allowed FIU to cut the lead to eight at end the third quarter. 

WKU started the fourth quarter cold, shooting 1-6 from the field.  FIU brought the game within three points and a deep three as the shot clock was expiring gave FIU a 71-68 lead with 10.6 seconds remaining.  A missed three-pointer by junior Destiny Salary completed the FIU comeback. 

WKU shot 5-16 in the fourth quarter and was outscored 23-12.  They did not score in the last three minutes of the game. 

The Lady Toppers will conclude their regular season at Diddle Arena versus Liberty on Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m.  The game can be watched on ESPN + 

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