EL PASO, Texas – WKU led for much of the afternoon behind a career-high-tying 31
points from Ivy Brown, but a fourth-quarter comeback by UTEP dealt the Lady Toppers
an 80-75 loss in the regular season finale for both teams on Saturday afternoon
inside the Don Haskins Center.
The Lady Toppers (21-8, 12-4 C-USA) led for much of the first half and into the
third quarter, but the Miners (16-13, 7-9 C-USA) held a 53-45 scoring advantage over
the final 20 minutes of play to come away with the win.
Ivy Brown matched her career high with 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the
field, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. Brown matched the program record
with 16 points in the third quarter and had 22 points in the second half. Tashia
Brown added 19 points and seven rebounds for the Lady Toppers, and Whitney Creech
tallied a career-best nine assists on Saturday afternoon.
Tamara Seda (21), Jordan Alexander (19) and Zuzanna Puc (19) each reached double
figures for the Miners, who shot 57.7 percent (30-of-52) from the field on the day.
Neither side could gain more than a two-point advantage over the first six minutes
of the contest until back-to-back baskets from Tashia and Ivy Brown pushed the WKU
lead to 10-6 at the 3:19 mark of the opening quarter. UTEP rallied to score seven of
the next nine points, but a long jumper just inside the arc from Tashia Brown
restored the WKU lead, 14-13, after the opening 10 minutes.
WKU’s lead stretched to as many as seven points, 30-23, midway through the second
frame following Ivy Brown’s triple with 3:16 on the clock. Despite holding the
momentum, UTEP rallied back over the final three minutes before halftime as Puc
scored the final four points of the frame to cut the Lady Toppers’ advantage to
30-27 heading into the locker room.
UTEP briefly took the lead by scoring the first four points of the third quarter,
but the game became a back-and-forth affair over the next three minutes that saw the
teams trading baskets. Ivy Brown knocked down yet another three-pointer to put the
Lady Toppers back in front with 7:12 to play in the frame, and two free throws by
Brown just over one minute later pushed the lead to 42-37.
The Lady Toppers maintained their edge until the waning seconds of the quarter, when
a 7-2 UTEP run gave the Miners their first lead of the second half, 51-50, heading
into the final 10 minutes of action.
A 6-0 run by WKU tied the game at 66-66 with 4:29 remaining. Tashia Brown knocked
down back-to-back layups and a jumper from Creech pulled the Lady Toppers even, but
WKU was unable to push into the lead down the stretch. UTEP converted five free
throws in the final minute of play to fend off a late WKU charge, dealing the Lady
Toppers the 80-75 setback.
WKU will be the No. 2 seed in this week’s C-USA Tournament hosted at The Ford Center
at The Star in Frisco, Texas. The Lady Toppers are set to open play on Thursday
afternoon at 1:30 p.m. (CT) against the winner of Wednesday’s No. 7-No. 10 matchup.
See the full bracket here.