FRISCO, Texas – Raneem Elgedawy and Whitney Creech each finished with double-doubles
as WKU closed the game on an 11-2 run to pull away from Old Dominion in the C-USA
Quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon, picking up a 74-60 win inside The Ford Center
at The Star.
Thursday’s win sets up a date against top-seeded No. 24/NR Rice in the C-USA
Semifinals on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. That game will be carried both on Stadium
and locally in Bowling Green on WKU PBS.
Elgedawy notched game-highs in both points (20) and rebounds (15) while Creech had
one of her finest games on The Hill with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to
pace WKU (18-13) to its fourth straight win and 11th in a row against the Monarchs.
Joining Elgedawy and Creech in double figures were Dee Givens (14) and Alexis Brewer
As a team, WKU shot 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from the floor, the second-best mark by
any team in the C-USA Tournament thus far, and outscored Old Dominion (21-10) in
each of the four quarters. The Lady Topper defense also shined on the day, limiting
the Monarchs to just 23-of-73 (31.5 percent) shooting and a 4-of-26 mark (15.4
percent) from beyond the arc.
Taylor Edwards paced Old Dominion with 20 points, and Ajah Wayne finished just shy
of a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Though the Monarchs committed
only seven turnovers, the Lady Toppers turned those into fast-break points,
outscoring Old Dominion 14-8 in the category.
Throughout the first quarter, neither side was able to gain more than one possession
of separation until a quick run of four straight points, all scored by Elgedawy,
gave WKU a 20-16 edge with 1:10 on the clock. The sophomore split a pair of free
throws before converting a three-point play on the fast break to finally give the
Lady Toppers a bit of breathing room.
Old Dominion chipped away at the deficit and managed to take the lead early in the
second frame on a layup by Wayne, but WKU roared back with seven unanswered points
to take its largest lead of the game to that point. Four different Lady Toppers
scored during the stretch, with four more points coming off the fast break, and
Elgedawy capped the run with a layup at the 6:55 mark to give WKU a 29-23 advantage.
The lead grew to as many as nine points after a Meral Abdelgawad three-pointer
before Old Dominion whittled it back down to three with just over a minute
remaining. Over the final 60 seconds, WKU’s defense locked down and got a layup from
Arame Niang in the closing seconds to carry a 36-31 lead into the halftime break.
Early in the third quarter, the Monarchs cut WKU’s lead down to just three points
after a Victoria Morris three-pointer, but Brewer responded immediately on WKU’s
next possession with a triple of her own from the right corner to restore the
two-possession lead, 46-40.
WKU finally pushed its lead to double digits late in the quarter after five straight
points from Creech and Brewer, with Brewer’s three-pointer at the 1:55 mark giving
the Lady Toppers an 11-point, 56-45, advantage. Though Old Dominion managed to cut
its deficit to five points before the end of the frame, Abdelgawad scored on a
fast-break layup on WKU’s final possession of the quarter as the Lady Toppers
carried a 58-51 edge into the final 10 minutes of play.
A 5-0 run to open the fourth quarter rebuilt the double-digit lead for the Lady
Toppers, with four of the five points coming from Creech. Old Dominion answered back
with a 7-0 run of its own, sparked by a Mariah Adams three-pointer, to cut WKU’s
lead to just five points, 63-58, with 5:07 remaining.
From there, however, the Lady Toppers took control, scoring 11 of the game’s final
13 points to earn the comfortable 74-60 win. Five different Lady Toppers scored in
the final five minutes, and WKU ended the contest on a 7-0 run over the final two
and a half minutes to secure the victory.
WKU will get another shot at top-seeded No. 24/NR Rice on Friday afternoon at 5:30
p.m. in the C-USA Semifinals after the Owls took care of North Texas, 61-43, in
Thursday’s first quarterfinal game. Rice enters the semifinals having won 19
straight games, including a 68-46 win over the Lady Toppers inside E.A. Diddle Arena
on Feb. 7. With a win, WKU would reach the championship game of the C-USA Tournament
for the fourth time in five seasons as a league member.