Sherry Porter poured in a career-high 17 points, Arame Niang captured her first double-double in a Lady Topper uniform and WKU led wire-to-wire in a 90-43 victory over Morgan State inside E.A. Diddle Arena in non-conference action on Wednesday evening.
The win was the second straight at home for WKU (3-6), who featured a balanced scoring attack that saw every player who saw playing time score at least two points. Morgan State (1-8) dropped their seventh straight contest with the defeat.
Dee Givens led all scorers with 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting from the field, and Porter followed up with her career-best mark of 17 points while going a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Niang continued her steady early-season growth for the Lady Toppers, breaking out for her first career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, tallying eight in each category in the fourth quarter alone.
“There’s some days that things don’t go Sherry’s way and she gets frustrated, and so I’ll tell her when she stops worrying about mistakes and worrying about plays, you’re going to get better, but you’re not coming off the court, so you might as well put those mistakes out of your mind and look at the next play and just keeping playing. I think that gave her a little bit of confidence and we talked about some things on the bench tonight that she could do better,” Head Coach Greg Collins said. “I see growth in every game from her and I think she’s getting a little more confident and a little bit wiser and the only way to get that way is to get experience. She’s getting a lot of tough experience quickly. I think she’s going to be pretty good in that spot.”
The Egyptian duo of Raneem Elgedawy (13) and Meral Abdelgawad (11) rounded out the WKU quintet in double figures, and Whitney Creech, who returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Nov. 17, dished out a season-best 10 assists.
WKU maintained its hot shooting from three-point range, knocking down 12 of its 21 attempts (57.1 percent) on the night while also enjoying its best shooting night from the free throw line of 2018-19, missing only one shot from the charity stripe (14-of-15, 93.3 percent).
Adre’onia Coleman led Morgan State with 13 points and was joined in double figures by Naomi Bolasingh (10).
WKU jumped in front early, scoring the first eight points of the contest behind points from four different players. Abdelgawad keyed the run with a three-pointer from the left side, set up by an offensive rebound and quick pass from Givens, and Elgedawy capped the stretch by splitting a pair of free throws with 6:51 on the clock.
Trailing by 12 points, Morgan State cut WKU’s lead back to single digits over the final minute of the quarter. Ashia McCalla knocked down a jumper and Coleman’s free throws with six seconds to play left WKU with a 22-14 edge after the opening 10 minutes.
The Lady Toppers quickly rebuilt their double-digit edge in the second frame, and used a long unanswered run of 15 straight points to take control of the game heading into halftime. A triple from Niang kicked off the run, and Givens drained a three-pointer from the top of the key on WKU’s final possession of the half to send WKU into the locker room up 49-22.
“Arame didn’t practice for five weeks prior to playing Louisville. She wanted to sub out tonight and I said no way, they only way you’re coming out is if you foul out or the game is over. She kept trucking out there. She’s working hard on her own, she’s doing additional conditioning to try and catch up to where she can stay out there. If we can get those two on the floor a little bit more, it gives us a lot more length, of course, it gives us a lot more opportunities to rebound closer to the basket and we’re going to finish a lot more of those shots and it gives us a little more flexibility,” Collins said. “It’s not just letting us play like, but making us look like the teams we play against. It makes us look like Oregon State more, it makes us look like Louisville more and so we’re going to get there. Arame is just a little bit at a time, every day she’s getting closer and closer to that goal.”
WKU did not let up in the second half, never allowing Morgan State any closer than 30 points over the final 20 minutes of play. The Lady Toppers’ advantage grew to as many as 49 points in the closing minutes before closing out the 90-43 victory over the visiting Lady Bears.
WKU will be back in action on Saturday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. (CT) as the Lady Toppers renew their old Sun Belt rivalry on the road at Little Rock. The two sides will be meeting for the 30th time in program history, but first since WKU claimed a thrilling 66-62 victory in the Sun Belt Tournament semifinals in 2013-14 en route to their first conference tournament title with Greg Collins on the bench.
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Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Athletic Communications
Women’s Basketball | Women’s Soccer