BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Junior Ivy Brown enjoyed one of the finest performances of her career with 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds as WKU weathered a strong second-half comeback attempt from College of Charleston on Sunday afternoon inside E.A. Diddle Arena to claim an 89-76 victory in its penultimate non-conference game.
The Lady Toppers (7-4) had five players in double figures led by Ivy Brown’s 21 points. The junior was joined in the category by Tashia Brown (18), Whitney Creech (17), Kendall Noble (16) and Micah Jones (11) on the afternoon. Brown’s 17 boards were the most among all players, while Tashia Brown dished out a game-high five assists. Noble, WKU’s all-time career leader in steals, finished with four on the afternoon to push her career total to 297.
Breanna Bolden led all scorers with 23 points for College of Charleston (2-7) and was joined in double figures by Tanisha Brown (15) and Dajah Logan (14). The Cougars shot 50.8 percent (32-63) from the floor as a team, including a 12-of-15 (80 percent) mark in the third quarter, but could not overcome a strong closing 10 minutes by the Lady Toppers.
Both sides were locked in a tight battle early with neither team able to gain more than four points of separation over the opening five minutes. College of Charleston cut the Lady Toppers’ lead to 8-6 with 5:23 to play, but four straight points in response built a 12-6 advantage for WKU.
Despite College of Charleston twice taking the lead over the final five minutes of the first half, WKU battled back each time and carried a 19-15 lead after the opening 10 minutes.
Using the strength of a 10-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters, the Lady Toppers surged ahead and built their lead to nine points, 24-15, with 8:40 to play in the second frame. Three different WKU players scored during the run, including five points from Ivy Brown and four from Creech to pace the stretch.
Leading 33-23 at the 4:03 mark, WKU scored nine of the next 10 points to put together an 18-point advantage, 42-24, with 1:33 left before the halftime break. The Cougars managed to trim their deficit to just 11, however, after seven unanswered points to close the second quarter. WKU carried a 42-31 lead into the locker room at the break.
After allowing College of Charleston within seven points early in the third quarter, WKU pulled back in front by double digits after a quick 7-0 burst with four points from Tashia Brown and a three-pointer from Jones. Again, however, the Cougars managed to whittle the lead back down to single digits with six unanswered points of their own, capped by Logan’s three-pointer at the 5:18 mark to make it 50-42.
Tashia Brown’s layup 30 seconds later briefly rebuilt a double-digit advantage, but College of Charleston fought back with nine more unanswered points to cut WKU’s lead to just one, 52-51, and eventually grabbed a 58-57 lead with just over 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter following Courtney Gardner’s layup.
Jones struck from three-point range just before the buzzer to end the quarter, sending the Lady Toppers into the final 10 minutes with a 60-58 advantage.
College of Charleston’s Bolden gave the Cougars a 61-60 edge early in the final quarter, but that would mark the last time the Cougars would lead in the contest. WKU responded with 10 straight points and the Cougars were unable to close any tighter than six points down the stretch as the Lady Toppers claimed the 89-76 victory.
WKU will return to action on Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. for its final non-conference game of the season, taking on Ball State inside Diddle Arena in the first game of a doubleheader alongside men’s basketball. The Lady Toppers will be seeking to avenge a 74-60 setback against the Cardinals on the road last season.
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