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WKU womens basketball prepares for C-USA quarterfinal against Liberty

Tucker Covey
WKU head coach Greg Collins talks with the Lady Toppers amid a timeout during the matchup with FAU in E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. WKU won 66-65.

WKU women’s basketball will rematch Liberty on Wednesday, March 13, in the Conference USA Tournament. 

With a quick turnaround, WKU will travel to Huntsville, Alabama, looking for revenge against the Flames in the quarterfinal round of the CUSA tournament.  The Lady Toppers finished the regular season tied for sixth place with UTEP and New Mexico State, officially finishing seventh. 

Liberty, meanwhile, finished second behind Middle Tennessee State.  They overcame an eleven-point deficit Saturday to defeat WKU 84-77, splitting the series.  Flames junior guard Emma Hess scored 22 points while leading scorer, junior guard Bella Smuda, added 21 points and nine rebounds.  The Lady Toppers had no answer for Liberty in the fourth quarter, being outscored 30-16 in that quarter giving Liberty the win. 

The Lady Toppers are 31-4 all-time in the conference tournament quarterfinals, winning four straight appearances.  With them passing their season average of 64.5 points per game with 77 versus Liberty, it is possible that the offense can get going.  The question becomes if they can close the game out. WKU is 6-7 when they score 67 points or more and have given up numerous double-digit leads.   

With sophomore guard Acacia Hayes returning last week, she will have some time to rest and prepare as she brings another element of offense and defense to the team.  Hayes is the team’s leading scorer and third in three-point shooting percentage.  The conference steal leader, junior guard Alexis Mead, earned All-CUSA Second Team and All-Defensive Team honors in the postseason awards. 

Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. CT.  The winner will play the winner of the third-ranked FIU and sixth-ranked New Mexico State on Friday. 

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