BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Leading Southern Miss by just three points at halftime, WKU broke open the game with 16 unanswered points in the third quarter and outscored the Golden Eagles 53-30 in the second half en route to a 79-53 victory inside E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Ivy Brown led all scorers with 20 points and pulled down a game-best nine rebounds, and fellow junior Tashia Brown matched the nine rebounds and tallied 15 points of her own. C-USA Player of the Year candidate Kendall Noble had 13 points and five rebounds, and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers rounded out the quartet in double figures with 11 points.
WKU (17-6, 9-2 C-USA) shot just 10-of-30 (33.3 percent) in the first half before finding its offensive groove over the final 20 minutes, knocking down 20 of its 31 opportunities (64.5 percent).
Brittanny Dinkins led Southern Miss (14-9, 6-5 C-USA) with 17 points and was joined in double figures by Jayla King, who finished the afternoon with 10 points. WKU’s 79 points on Saturday were the most surrendered by the Golden Eagles in C-USA play this season.
Over the opening seven minutes, neither side could gain a lead of more than two points in the back-and-forth battle. WKU led by two points after early baskets from Tashia and Ivy Brown, but the Golden Eagles were able to fight back each time, eventually taking a 6-5 edge on a pair of free throws by Respect Leaphart at the 4:33 mark.
From that point, however, WKU powered ahead and scored the final 10 points of the quarter. Four different Lady Toppers found the bottom of the basket during the stretch, including back-to-back Ivy Brown three-pointers from the top of the key that handed WKU a 15-6 lead at the end of the frame.
WKU’s lead grew to as many as 11 points early in the second quarter before the Golden Eagles’ defense whittled the lead down to four points, holding the Lady Toppers scoreless for more than four minutes. Dinkins capped the stretch with consecutive shots to cut Southern Miss’ deficit to 17-13.
Noble halted the run with a three-pointer from the right side of the arc, but the Golden Eagles continued to claw away at the lead, eventually cutting WKU’s advantage to just a single point, 22-21, on Leaphart’s layup with 3:31 to play.
Despite losing its double-digit edge, WKU maintained its lead through the halftime break, carrying a 26-23 advantage into the locker room.
Southern Miss came out of the game strong in the third quarter, notching the fourth tie of the game at 29-29 with 8:06 on the clock. Dinkins connected on a layup following a pair of split free throws from Goodin-Rogers to pull the Golden Eagles even early in the frame.
Leading by one point, 35-34, midway through the quarter, WKU broke open the game with 16 unanswered points over the next four minutes. Five different Lady Toppers scored, including five points for Micah Jones and four for Noble, as WKU emerged with a 51-34 lead, its largest of the day to that point.
In the final quarter, WKU never led by fewer than 13 points and finished the game on an 8-0 run over the final two and a half minutes, capped by Jaycee Coe’s three-pointer with 16 seconds to play, to coast to the 79-53 victory.
WKU will be off for a week before returning to the court next Saturday afternoon at Noon (CT) as the Lady Toppers travel to Marshall. WKU leads the all-time series against the Thundering Herd by a 7-1 margin, including a 73-57 win in Bowling Green on Jan. 21 earlier this season.
How to Follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Lady Topper Basketball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the program via social media @LadyTopperHoops on Twitter, @LadyTopperHoops on Instagram and on Facebook at facebook.com/WKUWomensBasketball.