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.”
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.”
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.”