BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Sidnee Bopp hit six three-pointers in the first half and WKU held Louisiana Tech in check defensively in the second half as the Hilltoppers defeated the Lady Techsters 77-53 Friday afternoon at Legacy Arena in the semifinals of the 2017 Conference USA Tournament.
With the loss, Louisiana Tech is now 18-13 on the season and will wait to find out about possible postseason play on Monday.
“I’m proud of our team for being able to be in this position and come out and compete,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “I thought we started game very well. We were playing a very good team in Western Kentucky and you have to give them credit. They were the more aggressive and physical team today and more composed in a lot of ways. I’m proud of (my team) and happy with the direction we’re heading.”
Bopp, who entered the game averaging just three points a contest, connected on 6-of-9 three-pointers in the first half. WKU hit nine three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes, allowing the Lady Toppers to take a 43-32 lead into the halftime locker room.
Tech came out of the gate fast, scoring the first six points of the contest to grab an early lead. The Lady Techsters led 13-8 midway through the opening quarter before Bopp and the WKU three-point shooters started knocking down perimeter shots. WKU led 20-19 at the end of a fast-paced first quarter.
The second quarter saw Tech struggle with turnovers. The Lady Techsters shot 57 percent from the field (13-23) in the first 20 minutes of play but 11 turnovers and WKU’s nine three-pointers allowed the Toppers to build the 11-point halftime lead.
Any chance of a Tech come-back was doused by WKU in the second half. The Toppers held the Lady Techsters to only 8-of-27 shooting over the final 20 minutes of play as LA Tech got to within nine points on the first possession of the third quarter before WKU pushed the advantage out to double figures. WKU led 57-42 after three quarters of action before outscoring Tech 20-11 in the fourth stanza.
“I hope we remember how this feels,” said Stoehr. “One group leaves here happy and everybody else is disappointed. We try to teach more than just basketball with these young women. That’s life. Sometimes you don’t get what you want.”
Kierra Anthony and Jasmine LeBlanc led Tech with 10 points each while Reauna Cleaver added nine points. Alexus Malone finished with six points and nine rebounds.
Tech outrebounded WKU 36-25.