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.”
“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.”
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.”