BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – In the 74th edition of the top rivalry in program history, WKU
led nearly wire-to-wire and split the season series against Middle Tennessee inside
E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday evening, closing the regular season with a 67-56
victory over the Blue Raiders on Senior Night to secure a first-round bye in next
week’s C-USA Tournament.
Sidnee Bopp, Kayla Smith and Jae’Lisa Allen were honored in a special postgame
ceremony as part of WKU’s Senior Night festivities for their contributions to the
program over the last four seasons.
Dee Givens led a quartet of Lady Toppers (17-13, 11-5 C-USA) in double figures on
the night, finishing with a team-best 16 points. She was joined by Whitney Creech
(15), Raneem Elgedawy (14) and Meral Abdelgawad (10) in the double-digit scoring
column as Alexis Brewer also pitched in nine points.
Creech had a strong all-around game, adding four assists and a steal with no
turnovers in 38 minutes to her 15 points, just one shy of her season-high mark.
Elgedawy also fell just short of a double-double with a game-best eight boards on
As a team, WKU shot 50 percent (26-of-52) from the floor and finished 5-of-15 (33.3
percent) from the three-point line.
Alex Johnson led Middle Tennessee (20-9, 11-5 C-USA) with 17 points in her final
regular season game in the rivalry, and Jordan Majors nearly collected a
double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds. Middle Tennessee was held to just
41.7 percent shooting (20-of-48) by a stout Lady Topper defense and notched just
nine points in the fourth quarter as WKU took control of the contest.
Despite the Blue Raiders grabbing an early lead, WKU fired off a 12-2 run spanning
four and a half minutes to seize control of the game midway through the first
quarter. Four different Lady Toppers scored during the stretch, keyed by five points
from Givens to help build the early 14-6 advantage.
WKU maintained its edge and opened the second quarter with five straight points,
including Givens’ second triple of the night, to push the lead to double digits for
the first time, 21-10, at the 8:48 mark. Middle Tennessee was able to cut back into
the lead with a 5-0 run before the Lady Toppers called timeout to reorganize their
Out of the timeout, WKU again pushed its lead to double digits on two different
occasions before the Blue Raiders cut the deficit back to five points. At the
first-half buzzer, however, Creech knocked down a jumper from the right side to send
WKU into the locker room with a 37-30 lead.
After Middle Tennessee trimmed the lead to five points early in the third frame, WKU
quickly rebuilt a nine-point lead on a jumper by Elgedawy followed by a three-point
play from Creech with 6:51 on the clock. From there, the Blue Raiders scored 11 of
the final 17 points of the quarter, cutting the deficit to just two points on one
occasion. Anna Jones knocked down a right-wing triple with just over a minute
remaining to cut WKU’s lead to 49-47 before Creech struck again at the buzzer,
pulling up from the lane to give the Lady Toppers a 51-47 lead entering the final
The game’s decisive run came as WKU opened the fourth quarter with nine unanswered
points to put the game out of reach. Givens poured in four points during the run,
and Abdelgawad capped the burst with a three-pointer with 7:36 remaining to build a
13-point, 60-47 advantage over Middle Tennessee.
Down the stretch, WKU’s defense did not allow the Blue Raiders to get back within
single digits the rest of the way en route to the 67-56 victory.
With the conclusion of the regular season, WKU will await its official seeding for
next week’s C-USA Tournament to be hosted at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco,
Texas. The Lady Toppers will be seeking to defend their back-to-back tournament
titles, and a tournament title would be the 14th in program history for WKU. Only
one other program, Tulane from 1999-01, has won three consecutive C-USA Tournament
championships in the history of the league.