MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – WKU never trailed and had big performances from Dee Givens (19
points), Ivy Brown (18 points and 11 rebounds) and Tashia Brown (14 points) as the
Lady Toppers won their fifth straight rivalry clash against Middle Tennessee, 76-60,
inside the Murphy Center on Thursday evening.
The Lady Toppers (19-6, 10-2 C-USA) also won back-to-back games in Murfreesboro for
the first time since winning three straight on the road against the Blue Raiders
from Dec. 2, 1986, through Jan. 15, 1993. WKU limited Middle Tennessee (15-10, 7-5
C-USA) to just 36.7 percent (18-of-49) shooting from the field and outscored the
Blue Raiders in all four quarters of Thursday’s battle.
Givens had her best scoring effort against a C-USA opponent in her career with 19
points on 6-of-11 shooting, including a 3-of-7 mark from beyond the arc; the
redshirt sophomore also added eight rebounds and four blocks in a strong all-around
effort. Ivy Brown collected her 13th double-double of the season with 18 points and
11 boards, and Tashia Brown added 14 points on just seven attempted field goals on
Alex Johnson, the C-USA Preseason Player of the Year who missed the first meeting
against WKU this season, had a team-best 18 points for Middle Tennessee. Anna Jones
added 13 points and Jess Louro rounded out the trio in double figures with 10
points. WKU forced 20 turnovers against the Blue Raiders, converting those chances
into 13 points.
After battling tightly over the first four minutes of the game, WKU broke away with
five unanswered points. Ivy Brown knocked down an open three-pointer at the 5:49
mark, and Sherry Porter pulled up and knocked down a jumper just under 90 seconds
later to extend the WKU lead to 10-3 early on over the Blue Raiders.
Middle Tennessee managed to cut the Lady Topper lead back to two points, but another
late run of four straight points over the final two minutes, again sparked by a
Porter jumper, gave WKU a 17-10 advantage after the first quarter of play.
Over the first two and a half minutes of the second quarter, the Blue Raiders pulled
within one point after a quick 6-0 burst. All six of Middle Tennessee’s points
during the run came on a pair of three-point plays by Jones and Johnson and cut
WKU’s lead to just a single point, 17-16.
WKU would not allow Middle Tennessee any closer than that over the remainder of the
first half, however. Behind a 10-1 run, WKU pushed its lead to double digits for the
first time on a free throw by Terri Smith with 4:01 on the clock; despite briefly
slipping back into single digits, the Lady Toppers carried a 40-29 lead into the
Throughout the third quarter, the Lady Toppers never led by fewer than the
nine-point lead that they began the frame with, and WKU pushed its advantage to as
many as 18 points on two different occasions. Middle Tennessee used a quick 5-0 run
by Johnson midway through the quarter to pull within 13 points, but the stout Lady
Topper defense kept the advantage in double digits heading into the final 10
Despite climbing with 13 points several times in the fourth quarter, Middle
Tennessee never managed to cut the WKU lead to single digits. The Lady Toppers were
a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe over the final 1:40 of play to deny any
late comeback attempt by the Blue Raiders, and WKU held on to claim its second
straight season sweep of Middle Tennessee.
Following Thursday’s game, WKU will return home to E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday
afternoon at 2 p.m. as the Lady Toppers welcome Marshall for their annual Play4Kay
Pink Game. All fans are encouraged to wear pink and are welcomed to make their
pledge to the Lady Toppers’ Play4Kay Free Throw Challenge, and breast cancer
survivors will be honored at halftime of the contest.