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WKU womens basketball drops sixth straight game

Tucker Covey
The Lady Toppers put up a stout defense against FIU’s junior forward Maria Torres (44) in E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. WKU won 67-63.

The Flames burned WKU women’s basketball 84-77 Saturday, spoiling Senior and Alumni Day. 

In the regular season finale, WKU took command of the game early, stretching the lead in the second and third quarters, but 30 points in the fourth quarter allowed Liberty to overcome an 11-point deficit to win. 

The loss ends WKU’s regular season at 15-16 (6-10 CUSA) and a six-game losing streak. 

In her final regular-season game as a Lady Topper, senior guard Destiny Salary led the team with 15 points and four assists.  She looked comfortable on the floor, returning to the starting lineup and being the team’s primary ball handler outside of junior guard Alexis Mead.  Sophomore guard Josie Gilvin came in and scored 15 points in 15 minutes, giving quality minutes off the bench. 

Senior guard Teresa Faustino scored 14 points on 6-11 shooting from the field. Mead added 12 points and five assists. 

To open the first quarter, Liberty jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on the team’s first two possessions, taking advantage of the team’s size advantage over WKU.  After an early timeout at 8:29, the Flames would stretch the lead to 9-2.  WKU would then use the last five minutes to go on a 13-3 run to end the quarter.  Faustino led the team with seven points in the quarter.  The WKU defense forced six turnovers in the quarter and scored 10 of their 15 points off those turnovers. 

Liberty was knocking down threes at will in the second quarter, with true shooting at 4-9 for the period.  At the 7:31 mark, Hayes made her return to the court for the first time since the team’s Feb. 3 matchup against Middle Tennessee State.  She made an immediate impact on her return, forcing a turnover on the following Liberty possession.  Gilvin scored nine in the quarter to help spark a 13-2 WKU run for the last 5:10 of the second.  Despite only scoring 18% from beyond the arc, the Lady Toppers led 37-30 at halftime.  Faustino took over during the Liberty scoring drought, getting into the cookie jar on back-to-back steals. 

Quarter three saw the usual Mead takeover, with the guard scoring eight points.  Faustino added five points, and the WKU offense did not turn the ball over in the quarter.  The team shot 60% from the field and 75% from three. 

The fourth quarter opened with an 11-0 Liberty run, giving them the lead for the first time since the first half.  The fourth quarter woes that have plagued WKU throughout this season began to show up once more.  The team shot 20% as Liberty went on a 19-4 run, putting the game out of reach for WKU.   

This game concludes the 2023-2024 regular season for WKU.  Up next is the Conference-USA tournament in Huntsville, Alabama. 

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