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Lady Tops’ first C-USA road game goes to OT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In a game that featured 18 ties and 14 lead changes, WKU dropped an 89-85 overtime decision inside Halton Arena at Charlotte on Thursday morning in its first C-USA road action this season.

Kendall Noble fell just shy of her third career triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a strong all-around performance; Noble also went 11-of-22 from the field on the afternoon.

Joining Noble in double figures were Jaycee Coe (15), Ivy Brown (14) and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (10). Goodin-Rogers and Brown notched nine and eight rebounds, respectively, while Tashia Brown finished with six points and seven boards for the Lady Toppers (10-5, 2-1 C-USA).

For Charlotte (11-3, 3-0 C-USA), Grace Hunter led all players with 32 points, Ciara Gregory had 16 and both Nyilah Jamison-Myers and Lefty Webster recorded 12 apiece. Jamison-Myers added 10 rebounds for a double-double, and Webster notched a game-high nine assists.

For the opening six minutes, neither team could gain more than a two-point advantage as the two sides traded baskets back and forth. Trailing 10-8, WKU finally broke through with eight unanswered points over a two and a half minute span. A long three-pointer by Whitney Creech and a three-point play by Noble keyed the run for the Lady Toppers, who surged to a 16-10 lead with 3:03 to play in the first quarter.

Charlotte battled back with consecutive three-pointers from Webster and Gregory to level the game at 16-16, and the two sides remained deadlocked at the end of the opening quarter.

Five straight points propelled WKU to a 29-23 lead early in the second quarter, capped by a long jumper from Goodin-Rogers. Again, however, the 49ers fought back, scoring six of the next seven points to tie the game at 30-30 with 4:31 before the halftime break.

As was the case for much of the first half, neither side could gain separation before heading to the locker room and the Lady Toppers faced a narrow 40-38 deficit after the first 20 minutes.

Charlotte built its lead to as many as five points on two occasions in the third quarter, but each time the Lady Toppers were able to whittle away at the deficit and would not allow the 49ers to pull away. Trailing 58-54 at the 2:32 mark, WKU scored six straight points to regain the lead, using a pair of three-pointers from Ivy Brown and Coe to take a 60-58 lead.

WKU maintained that advantage for the next two minutes until Charlotte’s Gregory tied the game at 62-62 with a pair of free throws heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lady Toppers controlled much of the final quarter and led 79-75 with just 2:43 remaining in regulation before the 49ers pulled even behind shots from Webster and Jamison-Myers. Noble knocked down a long jumper with 3.2 seconds on the clock to put WKU up 81-79, but Hunter’s layup at the buzzer sent the matchup to overtime.

Charlotte jumped out to a three-point lead early in the overtime period, but four straight points from WKU gave the Lady Toppers an 85-84 edge with 2:09 remaining. Jamison-Myers’ layup 20 seconds later regained the lead for the 49ers, and despite a strong fight down the stretch, the Lady Toppers could not take back the lead in the 89-85 setback.

WKU will conclude its opening road trip of C-USA play on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. (CT) at Old Dominion. The Lady Toppers hold a perfect 5-0 record against the Lady Monarchs since joining C-USA, but will be facing the nation’s second-leading scorer in Jennie Simms, who averages 24.2 points per game for Old Dominion; Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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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