BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU raced out to a 16-1 lead and used a 38-7 advantage in points off turnovers to defeat Young Harris, 98-51, in exhibition action inside E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday evening.
The Lady Toppers dished out 23 assists on 37 made field goals and knocked down 10 of their 24 three-pointers on the evening in the victory. Jaycee Coe, making her debut for WKU after sitting out last season due to transfer rules, led all scorers with 19 points and went 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Coe was joined in double figures by Ivy Brown (18), Tashia Brown (15), Kayla Smith (15) and Dee Givens (12). Tashia Brown pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, and Givens finished with seven boards for the Lady Toppers. Making her return after missing much of last season due to injury, Micah Jones notched five points and five assists in 18 minutes of action.
Every Lady Topper who saw action played at least 12 minutes, including newcomers Naomi Mayes, Malaka Frank and Whitney Creech. Frank and Creech each tallied four points in their collegiate debuts on The Hill.
Meredith Tarver led the way for Young Harris with 17 points and six rebounds and was joined in double figures by Dyiesha Brown with 12 points.
WKU came out of the gates hot, scoring 16 of the game’s first 17 points over the opening four and a half minutes of the contest. Five different Lady Toppers scored during the run, including five points from Smith and four from Ivy Brown. Seeing her first game action since last November, Jones scored her first points of the evening at the 7:52 mark on a driving layup.
The Lady Toppers pushed their lead to 24 points, 36-12, midway through the second quarter on the strength of a 12-2 run. Jones capped the stretch with her first three-pointer of the night, while Ivy and Tashia Brown combined to score the remaining nine points.
Young Harris battled back, but a shot from beyond the arc from Smith with just 14 seconds remaining in the frame sent WKU into the locker room with a 51-25 advantage.
Bria Ratliff connected on a three-pointer for the Mountain Lions just under a minute into the third quarter to cut WKU’s lead to 53-28, but the Lady Toppers responded with a 25-2 run that spanned nearly seven minutes to build their largest lead of the night to that point, 78-30. Ivy Brown and Coe each scored seven points during the run, including a four-point play after Coe’s deep shot from beyond the arc with 5:37 remaining in the quarter.
The Mountain Lions trimmed WKU’s lead to under 40 points midway through the fourth quarter, but Givens answered by scoring seven of the Lady Toppers’ final 11 points to seal the 47-point win. The Lady Toppers move to 6-0 in exhibition play under Michelle Clark-Heard with the victory, winning the six games by an average of 44 points.
WKU will return to action next Friday evening at 7 p.m. for its regular season opener against Alabama A&M inside Diddle Arena. The Lady Toppers won the only other meeting between the two sides, 96-44, on Dec. 1, 2014; the Lady Bulldogs are now coached by former WKU assistant Margaret Richards.
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.