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Lady Toppers fall by 3 at UTSA

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – In a tight battle that featured six fourth-quarter lead changes, WKU fell just short of a road win inside the UTSA Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon, dropping an 80-77 decision against UTSA.

Kendall Noble led all scorers with 25 points in a balanced effort that also included six rebounds and six assists. Kayla Smith added a season-best 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting for the Lady Toppers (15-6, 7-2 C-USA), Ivy Brown had 14 and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers chipped in 12 points on the afternoon. As a team, WKU finished 28-of-61 (45.9 percent) from the floor.

For UTSA (10-9, 6-2 C-USA), Tesha Smith led the way with 21 points and eight rebounds. Kasia Kiejdrowska fired 20 points for the Roadrunners, and Loryn Goodwin had a well-balanced statline of 17 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. UTSA knocked down 27 of their 49 shots (55.1 percent), including a 5-of-13 mark from three-point range.

After playing to a 2-2 tie over the opening two and a half minutes, WKU’s offense clicked with a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to gain its first separation of the contest. Six points from Goodin-Rogers and another five from Ivy Brown paced the stretch for the Lady Toppers, who took a 16-4 lead off Brown’s layup with 3:42 on the clock.

UTSA trimmed its deficit back to single digits with four straight points from Smith, but Noble’s three-pointer with 23 seconds remaining in the quarter handed WKU a 21-11 lead at the end of the first 10 minutes.

A quick scoring flurry by the Roadrunners cut WKU’s lead to six points on two occasions early in the second frame before back-to-back three-pointers from Smith rebuilt the Lady Toppers’ double-digit advantage at 29-17. Those pair of triples were part of 10 straight points for Smith as she provided a strong spark off the bench.

Over the final five minutes of the half, UTSA battled back behind hot shooting from Kiejdrowska, and the Lady Toppers entered the locker room in a one-possession battle and a 38-35 lead.

WKU’s lead grew to as many as 10 points, 49-39, midway through the third quarter as the Lady Toppers got back-to-back baskets from Tashia Brown and Noble. The Roadrunners responded, however, with four straight points of their own to slash the lead back down to single digits.

UTSA used an 8-1 run later in the quarter to pull within two points, 53-51, following Kiejdrowska’s free throws with 4:08 on the clock. Later in the quarter, the Roadrunners took their first lead of the contest on a three-pointer from Carlie Heineman, but WKU was able to reclaim a 63-60 advantage after Noble tallied two field goals in the final minute.

In a frantic fourth quarter that featured three ties and six lead changes, UTSA found the bottom of the basket on eight of its 11 opportunities in the frame, including its last seven in a row, to earn the victory. WKU had a chance to force overtime with its final possession, but Jaycee Coe’s three-pointer at the buzzer fell just short of the mark.

WKU returns to the confines of E.A. Diddle Arena next Thursday evening as the Lady Toppers welcome Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. (CT) for the lone regular season meeting between the two sides this year. The Lady Toppers trail, 26-16, in the all-time series against the Lady Techsters, but have won the last three meetings in the series, including a 69-58 win in Ruston last season.

How to Follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Lady Topper Basketball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the program via social media @LadyTopperHoops on Twitter, @LadyTopperHoops on Instagram and on Facebook at facebook.com/WKUWomensBasketball.

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