ESTERO, Fla. – Junior Ivy Brown notched her first double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds and redshirt senior Kendall Noble poured in 19 points, but WKU dropped a tight 77-69 decision against No. 18/17 DePaul in the opening round of the 2016 Gulf Coast Showcase on Friday afternoon.
WKU (2-2) will now face Kent State in the consolation bracket on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. (CT) inside Germain Arena. The Golden Flashes fell, 84-42, against Baylor on Friday morning in the first game of the opening session.
Noble led the Lady Toppers with 19 points on the afternoon and was joined in double figures by Tashia Brown (15) and Ivy Brown (12). Ivy Brown also added a game-high 12 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.
For DePaul (4-0), Jessica January led all scorers with 25 points, Jacqui Grant added 13 and Ashton Millender had 11. Grant also pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double, while January dished out a game-high seven assists.
WKU jumped out to an early lead over the Blue Demons, netting 11 of the first 15 points of the contest. Noble and Sarah Price each tallied four points during the opening run for the Lady Toppers, and Tashia Brown capped the burst with a free throw at the 5:49 mark to hand WKU a seven-point advantage.
Two consecutive three-pointers from DePaul brought the Blue Demons within one point, but WKU was able to maintain its lead throughout the final five minutes of the quarter with a 19-15 lead at the end of the opening 10 minutes.
DePaul began the second quarter on an 8-0 run, keyed by four points from Grant, to grab its first lead since the first minute of the contest. Micah Jones halted the stretch with a three-pointer at the 7:04 mark, and Ivy Brown tied the game back up at 25-25 with a three-pointer of her own just 30 seconds later.
The Blue Demons’ lead twice grew to as many as seven points in the closing minutes of the first half, but free throws from Noble and Tashia Brown to close the frame brought WKU within three points, 39-36, at the halftime break.
Midway through the third quarter, the Lady Toppers twice tied the game, first on a free throw from Ivy Brown and again less than a minute later on a layup from Ima Akpan. Both times, however, DePaul was able to rebuild its lead and the Blue Demons took a 61-56 edge into the final 10-minute quarter.
Sidnee Bopp’s layup with 8:45 to play brought WKU within one point, 61-60, but DePaul’s Tanita Allen answered with a three-pointer on the Blue Demons’ next possession. The Lady Toppers battled hard down the stretch but were unable to close the gap any closer than three points the rest of the way.
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