Lady Tops lose 86-62 at Bowling Green State: postgame comments

Bowling Green State made 10 of 11 3-pointers on the way to a 60-29 halftime lead Tuesday night, as WKU’s (1-6) second-half efforts weren’t enough in an 86-62 loss at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio.

BGSU (3-2) did it from all over the floor, shooting 71.9 percent from the field in the first half while the Lady Toppers searched for answers. The Falcons entered the game shooting 31 percent overall and 25 percent from 3-point range.

The Falcons made nearly as many shots in the first half as WKU did the whole game. But the Lady Toppers took a stand in the second half, outscoring BGSU 33-26.

The team set goals at halftime, coach Mary Taylor Cowles said – to outrebound BGSU, minimize turnovers, outscore the Falcons in the second half and hold them to less than 90 points.

WKU finished with 22 turnovers that became 25 BGSU points, but every other goal was met.

Guards Chrissy Steffen and Jillian Halfhill did most of the damage for the Falcons, combining to score 46 points and make 8 of 11 3-pointers.

The Falcons maintained their lead for most of the second half, until WKU got a 7-0 run midway through the period. The Lady Toppers continued to whittle away at their deficit, finishing the game on a 14-2 run.

The burst was largely due to the play of senior forward Keshia Mosley, who came off the bench to record 12 points and 16 rebounds in 12 minutes.

Freshman guard Alexis Govan, senior guard Vanessa Obafemi and senior forward LaTeira Owens all scored eight points.

Sophomore guard Chaney Means was back in the starting lineup and played 19 minutes after suffering a broken nose in WKU’s win over Samford on Friday.

Means has been wearing a protective mask since then and will have surgery to repair the nose Thursday, Cowles said. She isn’t expected to miss any playing time.

The Lady Toppers don’t play for six days, after which they’ll host Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. Monday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Here are some postgame comments from Cowles, Govan and freshman guard Ileana Johnson:

Mary Taylor Cowles

On BGSU’s first-half shooting:

“I’ve only been around one team that has shot like that. My senior year, we went down to Vanderbilt and they shot unbelievable. That’s the only time I’ve ever seen that. Tonight, it didn’t matter what we did because they still made them. They got unconscious and were hitting everything – even contested shots.”

On setting goals for the second half:

“For the most part, we came out and achieved them. I think that’s important with such a young team, to set goals and achieve something.”

On Keshia Mosley’s play after getting benched:

“That was one angry young woman that made up her mind and said, ‘I don’t like this.’ She showed how aggressive and powerful she can be, which she is. She’s one of the best post players I’ve ever seen play the game. You’re always looking to keep your players motivated and challenge them, and she was motivated tonight and took it head-on.”

On the road ahead, including Louisiana Tech on Monday:

“We can’t look at the record right now. We have to look at the teams that are ahead of us. Our goal is to get better and win our conference, and our ladies want that very badly. Monday is a big rivalry for us, and one of the great women’s basketball programs of all-time. If that tradition and rivalry doesn’t get us up for that, something’s wrong. We’ve got a lot ahead of us, and we need to improve.”

Alexis Govan

“We contested the 3s. We went man, we went zone, but they just shot unbelievably tonight. That was an unbelievable start.”

On second-half play:

“In the second half, we came together and realized that we could win the half. We couldn’t just stop because we have more games coming up.”

“It shows that we can be a good team. The games we have next are all in reach. We just have to play like that all the time.”

Ileana Johnson

“They just hit everything they threw up. Then we switched to zone, and they just kept hitting everything. When a team shoots like that, they’re hard to beat.”

“We pretended the score was 0-0. We just tried to outwork them in the second half and work on our defense.”

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Glasgow TE Bowles sticking with Louisville

Glasgow senior TE Hunter Bowles

Glasgow senior TE Hunter Bowles

I went out to Glasgow on Tuesday to talk to the Scotties about Friday’s Class 2A state title game against Covington Holy Cross.

I’ll have full comments from that visit later, but I wanted to pass along some recruiting info from that trip.

Glasgow senior tight end Hunter Bowles said he’s still firm in his commitment to the University of Louisville. Bowles announced his verbal pledge to the Cardinals on Sept. 28.

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Bowles said he’s been following Louisville closely this season, as the Cardinals (7-5) have put themselves in position for a potential BCS bowl.

Louisville’s easiest route to a BCS berth is a Cincinnati loss to Connecticut on Saturday. The Cardinals would likely face the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl.

“They’re getting there, and I think they have a great chance of possibly winning whichever bowl they get to,” Bowles said. “I’m really looking forward to getting there and playing there next year.”

Bowling Green senior offensive lineman Joe Manley is also verbally committed to Louisville. Bowles said he told Manley before he committed that Louisville coach Charlie Strong was capable of taking this year’s team to a BCS bowl.

“It’s kind of an, ‘I told you so’ thing,” Bowles said with a laugh.

Bowles has caught 19 passes for 335 yards and three touchdowns for Glasgow this year, but has played a bigger role as part of the Scotties’ powerful offensive front that has helped produce 50 rushing touchdowns.

Bowles, Manley and all other high school seniors can’t officially sign their national letters of intent until college football’s National Signing Day in February.

Glasgow meets Covington Holy Cross for the 2A title at 3 p.m. Friday at Houchens-Smith Stadium in Bowling Green.

Lady Toppers fall to UAB: postgame comments

Sorry for not passing any of this along earlier, but unfortunately I had to produce that pesky newspaper last night. Anyhow, here’s some info from WKU’s loss to UAB yesterday, as well as postgame comments.

The Lady Toppers (1-5) turned the ball over 26 times in a 58-36 loss to Alabama-Birmingham Saturday, dropping their final game at the UAB Thanksgiving Classic in Birmingham, Ala.

WKU shot 31.1 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from the free-throw line. The Lady Toppers were limited to 19 percent shooting in the second half, scoring 14 points after the break.

Meanwhile, the Blazers (3-2) had seven turnovers in the game and converted the Lady Toppers’ miscues into 23 points.

Johnson led WKU in scoring with seven points, also adding five rebounds. Four Lady Toppers finished with at least three turnovers.

WKU closed to within 32-27 four minutes into the second half on a layup by senior forward Teranie Thomas, but UAB took its first double-digit lead of the game with a 9-0 run.

The Lady Toppers scored nine more points after that, going without a field goal for almost seven minutes late in the game.

Senior forward LaTeira Owens finished with five points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while senior forward Keshia Mosley added five points and four rebounds in 15 minutes. Mosley didn’t play until the second half.

Sophomore guard Chaney Means, who played three minutes in Friday’s win over Samford after getting hit in the nose early, played two minutes Saturday while wearing a protective mask on her face. Means hasn’t been to a doctor for X-rays yet, Cowles said, but will likely see one Monday.

The Lady Toppers return to the court at 6 p.m. Tuesday as they visit Bowling Green State.

A few comments from coach Mary Taylor Cowles, Johnson and sophomore guard Ellen Sholtes:

Jasmine Johnson

“We didn’t have control. We didn’t take care of the ball tonight, and we didn’t have an offense going. We were just trying to outplay them, and it didn’t work our way.”

“We know each other’s roles, but we’re trying to play it out. We’re still figuring out each other’s strengths and weaknesses right now, and it’s kind of hard when you’re mixing a lot of freshmen with upperclassmen.”

Mary Taylor Cowles

“When we have that many turnovers, we’re just taking opportunities away on the offensive end. It’s very difficult with 26 turnovers to win a ballgame. We only got 45 shot attempts, and if we get even 10 of those back from turnovers, it’s a different game.”

“It’s extremely frustrating. We have to make easy shots that we earn. A possession can only be so good if it doesn’t end in a made basket.”

“We’ve just got to be big and strong and step up to the battle. We need to have an attitude about us, and we don’t have that right now. We just don’t. We’re not experiencing anything that every other team in the country isn’t going through. We’ve got to make those adjustments and move on.”

Ellen Sholtes

“It ultimately falls back on us as a team. It wasn’t one specific player, and their pressure forced us into some turnovers. We’ve just got to work on that because I’m sure teams will see it on film and try to do it to us in the future.”

“We’re getting a feel for each other, and sometimes it gets hard. But we’ve got to keep working on it in practice, know what each person can do and take advantage of it.”

WKU guard Fothergill out at least three weeks

It’s extremely late folks, but I just got back from covering high school football in Murray, and I wanted to pass along a significant Lady Topper update.

WKU coach Mary Taylor Cowles told me on the phone Friday after the Lady Toppers’ 58-57 win over Samford that freshman guard Danay Fothergill will miss at least three weeks with a broken bone in her foot.

That’s a big blow for WKU, as Fothergill was averaging 9.5 points per game – second best on the team – and shooting better than 52 percent from 3-point range.

But the Lady Toppers were able to overcome Fothergill’s absence to notch their first win of the season Friday, largely due to the play of sophomore guard Ellen Sholtes.

Sholtes scored a career-high 11 points, including the game-winning free throw with 55 seconds left. She scored just four total points as a freshman.

The Lady Toppers play Alabama-Birmingham in the UAB Thanksgiving Classic at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Sophomore guard Chaney Means started and played three minutes in Friday’s win before she was hit in the face and didn’t return.

Word was that Means had a bloody nose coming off the court, but the extent of the injury wasn’t known. Cowles said shortly after the game that Means was headed to see a doctor soon, and the sophomore’s status wouldn’t be known until then.

Lady Tops lose to Wright State: postgame comments

The Lady Toppers had no answer.

After leading by as many as 14 in the first half and by eight at halftime, the Western Kentucky women’s basketball team (0-4) allowed visiting Wright State to shoot almost 67 percent from the field in the second half, dropping an 86-66 decision at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Raiders (3-0) outscored WKU 57-29 in the second half and made 9 of 15 3-pointers after the break.

“They shot contested shots, they shot uncontested shots,” senior forward LaTeira Owens said. “They just shot the ball.”

Wright State guards Kim Demmings and Courtney Boyd did most of the damage late, combining for 33 points in the second half. Boyd made five second-half 3-pointers.

The freshman Demmings, who came into the game averaging 15 points per game, tied Owens with a game-high 25 points.

In addition to Owens’ 25 points, the senior also pulled down 13 rebounds. Senior center Johnson recorded her first career start in 88 appearances and notched her first career double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Freshman guard Danay Fothergill scored 12 points on four 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Chaney Means didn’t score but contributed five rebounds and five assists.

The Lady Toppers open a three-game road swing at 3:30 p.m. Friday, when they play Samford in the UAB/Samford Classic in Birmingham, Ala.

For more on the game, check out Wednesday’s Daily News.

Here are comments from coach Mary Taylor Cowles, Owens and Johnson:

Mary Taylor Cowles

On Wright State’s crucial run:

“I’m sure the quote’s already been used – the tale of two halfs – and I really don’t know that I can explain that.”

To come out with the kind of energy and aggresiveness that we did to open the game, I was so pleased. And then to come out in the second half … and then they just kind of smacked us on their first offensive play, and we never responded to that.”

“We switched up a lot of defenses in the second half, trying to find something, and nothing was working. We just didn’t stand up to that. I can’t explain it, to be honest.”

On the play of Boyd and Demmings:

“We just had some breakdowns. When (Boyd) got hot, we didn’t respond in a good way, as far as really tightening up the defense on her and making her put it on the floor. We’ve got to be able to make adjustments like that defensively.”

“(Demmings’) good. I said that on the pregame show on the radio. She can shoot the 3, she can penetrate, she can pull up off the dribble – who’s going to stop that? Who’s going to take on that challenge? Obviously we weren’t able to do that.”

On offensive struggles:

“We didn’t shoot well, and our defense suffered for it. I hate to say that, but that’s what we witnessed tonight. When our offense went cold, our defense was extremely affected by it.”

On the play of the frontcourt, especially Jasmine Johnson:

“I thought our post was reaching for every opportunity they could to help our basketball team.”

“If I could write on paper what the ultimate team player is, it would be a description of Jasmine Johnson. She has put in her time, day in and day out, in this program for four years now.”

“While she’s accepted every role she’s been asked to play on this team, but I know without a doubt how much this meant to her tonight to have this opportunity. The unfortunate is that she’s the one in the locker room crying. She’s the one that it hurts so bad because while she tried to step up, she’s really for her team.”

On what Keshia Mosley needs to do moving forward:

“Bring a consistent level of play, day in and day out.”

On the upcoming Birmingham, Ala., trip:

“We can’t sit around and mope on this, but we’re going to break this film down. The good thing is we’re out of school, it’s Thanksgiving break and we’ve got time now to dissect this and work on this.”

“We’re getting ready to face two really tough teams on the road. Samford is different than any team we’ve played with their Princeton-style offense, backdoors and ability to shoot the 3, drive and penetrate.”

“UAB is extremely athletic, very quick basketball team. They bring a nice balance to the floor, so it’s a tough, tough test on the road.”

LaTeira Owens

“They just shot the ball. They shot contested shots, they shot uncontested shots. They just shot the ball.”

On offensive struggles:

“It’s all in that rotation, that concentration and knowing when to shoot the ball and when not to shoot the ball. Those are some things we need to work on, and you don’t want to shoot the ball with 25 seconds on the shot clock. That’s what we need to work on – what’s a good shot and what’s not a good shot.”

“Our post game is going to help us and open our outside game. We have some good shooters, so I think we wanted to focus on that this game, plus they had some bigs that we wanted to get in foul trouble. We did a good job of that.”

“We wanted to have an inside-out game. That’s one of the main goals. We always focus on that. Our shooters are knocking down shots when we do pass it out, and we know who to pass it to and who will get the right shots.”

On moving forward and moving on:

“It’s going to start tomorrow. We kind of talked about it after the game, so it’s going to start tomorrow. We’re going to work hard and try to figure out what’s going on, what’s working and what’s not. It’s going to end tonight.”

“We need to regroup, find out what are our weaknesses, our strengths, and I think that’ll help.”

On finding time to not stress over results:

“We want to do that for that hour or two hours, so we can think that it’s OK to have fun, it’s OK to laugh, it’s OK to smile.”

Jasmine Johnson

On what went wrong defensively:

“I think we stayed in the zone too long. We should have switched it a little earlier when they started shooting. We should’ve switched it to man.”

On her career night:

“I think my team put me in a good position to get some shots in and rebound. Coach Cowles gave me the opportunity to start, and I was just grateful for it.”

On the timing of Thanksgiving break:

“I think we can focus more, just on basketball and winning. Finals are coming up, so we’re worrying about class and projects and things, so I think this little break, we can focus on basketball and getting back on track.”

Wright State 86, Lady Tops 66 – FINAL

Final: The Lady Toppers are outscored 57-29 in the second half and fall to 0-4 this season, including three losses at home.

More to come.

7:51, 2nd: This one has been a whirlwind. Down 45-41, Wright State goes on a 23-5 run to lead by as many as 14. They’re up by 11 now with 7:51 to go.

The Raiders are shooting 61.9% in the second half.

11:57, 2nd: It’s hard to believe with the way WKU has dominated inside, but Wright State now leads 50-48 with less than 12 minutes to go.

The Raiders have made 9 of 15 shots in the second half. The Lady Toppers are shooting just 31.3 percent for the game.

15:14, 2nd: The Lady Toppers are asserting themselves well in the post, but their defense has slacked a bit and Wright State’s within one.

WKU now outrebounding the Raiders 34-22, and Owens is having her way with 18 points and nine rebounds. Wright State has made 6 of 8 second-half shots.

Halftime: Wright State pulled within four points with an 8-0 run late in the first half, but the Lady Tops score the final four points of the half to take a 37-29 advantage into the locker room.

LaTeira Owens leads all scorers with 12 points, while Fothergill still has nine. The Lady Topper shot 33.3 percent from the field in the first half and outrebounded Wright State 27-18.

Turnovers also improved for WKU, as the Lady Tops turned the ball over nine times. Owens already has eight rebounds, while Johnson has seven.

3:36, 1st: The Lady Toppers lead 33-21 at the final media timeout of the first half.

LaTeira Owens now has six rebounds, and Jasmine Johnson also has six rebounds. Means has added three assists.

6:58, 1st: Wright State failed to guard Danay Fothergill on back-to-back outlet passes, and the freshman guard made the Raiders pay with consecutive 3s. WKU leads 25-13.

That’s an 8-0 run the Lady Toppers since Wright State cut it to 17-13. Fothergill leads WKU with 9 points on three 3-pointers.

11:48, 1st: WKU gets a 10-0 run and holds Wright State scoreless for nearly six minutes, but a 3-pointer brings the Raiders back within 14-8 at the 11:48 mark.

The Lady Toppers’ 14-5 lead at the end of the run was their largest of the season so far.

LaTeira Owens leads with 6 points. Guard Chaney Means has 4 rebounds. The Lady Toppers are outrebounding Wright State 14-6.

15:49, 1st: The Lady Toppers have an early 7-5 lead despite making 3 of their first 11 shots. Alexis Govan leads early with four points.

Pregame: There’s been a change to the starting lineup for WKU. Senior center Jasmine Johnson is starting in the No. 5 spot in place of senior forward Keshia Mosley, who had started every game so far.

The other four starters remain the same: G Chaney Means, G Alexis Govan, F Teranie Thomas and F LaTeira Owens.

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The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team will still be in search of its first win of the season tonight.

The Lady Toppers (0-3), playing their third home contest in their opening four games, host Wright State at 7 p.m. in E.A. Diddle Arena.

The game comes two days after WKU fell 80-54 to No. 8 Duke at home.

Wright State (2-0) will command plenty of the Lady Toppers’ attention. The Raiders won 20 games last season and were picked to finish third in the Horizon League in the preseason.

Senior forward Molly Fox has been Wright State’s go-to player in the post, averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds in the Raiders’ first two games. Freshman guard Kim Dennings is averaging 15 points and shooting 61 percent from the floor.

The Raiders have struggled mightily from 3-point range so far, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking the outside shot. They’ve made just 7 of 39 tries.

Perimeter shooting was a positive for WKU in its 26-point loss to Duke, which turned the Lady Toppers over 35 times. WKU struggled to established its post game Sunday but did make 8 of 12 3-pointers.

“They’re a really good team,” sophomore guard Chaney Means said of Duke. “Credit to them, they’re a good team. We just need to learn from this and see how we can get better in our passing and running our offenses. We talked in the postgame about coming back and having a good practice.

“Learning from this, but also getting ready and not dwelling on it. We don’t really have time to dwell on it.”

As always, I’ll have updates here on the blog and at http://www.twitter.com/zach_greenwell during the game.

Lady Tops fall to No. 8 Duke: postgame comments

The Western Kentucky women’s basketball was stymied by 35 turnovers Sunday, falling 80-54 to No. 8 Duke at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Blue Devils turned WKU’s miscues into 40 points and also outscored the Lady Toppers 48-18 in the paint.

WKU’s post play struggled throughout the day, as senior forwards LaTeira Owens and Keshia Mosley combined for nine points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Toppers made up for that by knocking down 8 of 12 3-pointers, led by freshman guard Danay Fothergill.

Fothergill was a perfect 3 of 3 from 3-point range, tying fellow freshman Chasity Gooch with a team-high 11 points. Gooch also pulled down a team-high five rebounds.

Sophomore guard Chaney Means added nine points. Fothergill and senior center Jasmine Johnson were the only Lady Toppers without a negative assist-to-turnover ratio.

The Lady Toppers shot 43.2 percent from the field and made 8 of 15 free throws. Duke shot 47.8 percent from the floor, recording 18 steals.

The announced attendance was 1,322, which while larger than any total last year, was about 1,800 less than the last time WKU hosted Duke in the 2008-09 season.

The Lady Toppers return to the court on Tuesday against Wright State in Diddle Arena.

Here are postgame comments from coach Mary Taylor Cowles, Fothergill and Means:

Mary Taylor Cowles

On the strength of No. 8 Duke:

“A very legitimately ranked eighth basketball team in the country, and I think we knew that coming into this. We were a little familiar with some of their personnel from last year, but a very aggressive team.”

“What I was probably most impressed on their end was that we tried to switch some things up defensively, and they were just well prepared and had an answer for it. It was an opportunity for us to see that that’s what it takes to be the eighth-ranked team in the country.”

On what caused WKU’s turnovers:

“It was their overall pressure, and not just in the fullcourt, but even their halfcourt man. Their pressure was very intense, and I think for a lot of us in uniform tonight, that came at us very strong.”

On struggling to score in the post:

“It was a lot like Tuesday at Northwestern. A bigger, stronger, more physical in the post, and it really took away some opportunities for us in the paint.”

On making 8 of 12 3-pointers:

“We’ve got to pull positives out of this. For us to go (8 for 12) from the 3-point line, we needed something good like that to happen. For our 3-point line to step up, I was very proud of our guards, and it was distributed. It wasn’t just one particular player.”

On making a two-day turnaround to play Wright State:

“The challenge I gave to them was to come in here (Monday) at 2:15 and be ready to move forward. We need to have an attitude about us that, ‘You know what, this isn’t typical of us.'”

“We don’t have a lot of time to sit around and break this down, dissect it and go out there and practice for two or three days. We have one day, really, to get prepared. We have to be ready to go.”

“In the heart of a college basketball season, that’s what you’ve got to do. Whether we’re breaking down film or not, you’ve got to learn from it and then move on.”

On drawing 1,322 fans for a top-10 team:

“I think we’ve got to win, to be honest with you. Everybody likes a winner, and we haven’t shown that yet with this team this year. Do I think we will? Yes, I do. I’m very appreciative of the fans that are here, but people want to win. Nobody does as bad as we do.”

Chaney Means

On what Duke does well:

“They’re a really good team. Credit to them, they’re a good team. I thought the coaches prepared us well. They put us in the position we needed to be to play them as best we could. We just need to learn from this and see how we can get better in our passing and running our offenses.”

“Just full-out denial on the wings. That was really tough to relieve pressure from everyone. Once we got to the post, they were pressuring the other guards and making it hard for anyone to get open.”

“I honestly think that they could be going for the championship. They’re a great team, well-coached. We want to get to a point where we can play with those kinds of teams. Yes, a Sun Belt championship, that’s our main goal. But we want to get to a point where we can play with these teams.”

On struggling to score in the paint:

“We have great post players, and we need to give them the ball. Their pressure had a lot to do with that. They did a great job of passing it out though and finding some outside looks. Duke’s size in the post – we knew they would try to block shots, and our posts tried to make opportunities.”

On the team’s quick turnaround:

“We talked in the postgame about coming back and having a good practice. Learning from this, but also getting ready and not dwelling on it. We don’t really have time to dwell on it. We have to come in ready to practice and get this behind us.”

Danay Fothergill

On the team’s ability to shoot the 3:

“When we move the ball, we realize it’s going to open some shooters up. I’m just doing my role and knocking down shots.”

On experience gained from Sunday’s game:

“Being in that atmosphere, it’s good to get it under because now you’ve got the nerves released. You’re good for, say when we have a Sun Belt team come in here, you’re ready for a top team.”