Tashia Brown scored a game-high 25 points, but WKU was unable to overcome a hot-shooting Ball State team on the road on Thursday evening, falling 93-81 against the Cardinals inside Worthen Arena.
Brown’s eight straight 20-point games currently mark the longest active streak in the category among Division I players, and 20 of her 25 points for the Lady Toppers (8-4) came after the halftime break. WKU saw its seven-game winning streak snapped with the setback.
Ivy Brown finished the evening with 19 points and was one of four Lady Toppers in double figures. Dee Givens (15) and Raneem Elgedawy (11) rounded out the WKU quartet in double figures. Elgedawy fell just one rebound short of a double-double, and Tashia Brown (8) and Ivy Brown (7) also came up just short of double-doubles.
Moriah Monaco led Ball State (11-0) with 24 points and was one of six Cardinals to reach double figures; Destiny Washington (15), Maliah Howard-Bass (12), Oshlynn Brown (12), Carmen Grande (11) and Jasmin Samz (11) rounded out the group. Grande tallied a double-double by adding 12 assists, and Washington (9) and Brown (8) nearly captured double-doubles.
As a team, Ball State knocked down 13 of their 29 chances (44.8 percent) from beyond the arc on the night. From the field, WKU finished 28-of-72 (38.9 percent) on Thursday evening.
Ball State jumped out to an early lead after scoring the first five points of the evening, but WKU fired back with a 9-2 run to grab its first lead. Ivy Brown keyed the stretch with a pair of early three-pointers, and Whitney Creech turned a Cardinal turnover into a jumper to cap the run and give the Lady Toppers a 9-7 edge at the 5:34 mark.
Tied 14-14 two minutes later, the Cardinals used a run of their own to retake the lead, scoring seven unanswered points. Monaco netted five of the points for Ball State and Brown’s layup handed Ball State a 21-14 lead.
After the Ball State lead grew to as many as nine points late in the first quarter, WKU fired off eight consecutive points early in the second frame to get back within one point, 28-27. Three different Lady Toppers scored during the short run with another four points coming from Ivy Brown, which forced Ball State into a timeout just 65 seconds into the second quarter.
Another long run, this time 8-2 from the Cardinals, put them ahead for good through the halftime break. Ball State’s lead stretched to as many as 12 points, but the Lady Toppers managed to battle back to a single-digit deficit, 46-38, heading into the locker room.
WKU closed the gap to six points three times in the opening minutes of the third quarter, but the Cardinals were able to pull away each time. An 8-0 run by Ball State midway through the frame gave the Cardinals a 17-point lead, 63-46, following Samz’s three-pointer at the 4:17 mark.
Over the final quarter of play, WKU was unable to cut the deficit back to single digits. The Lady Toppers scored the final eight points of the game, including a pair of three pointers from Ivy Brown and Tashia Brown, to reach the final 93-81 scoreline.
WKU will now be off until next Friday, Dec. 29, when the Lady Toppers will welcome Lee University into E.A. Diddle Arena at 5:30 p.m. (CT). The Lady Toppers and Flames have never met on the hardwood, and the matchup will serve as the non-conference finale for WKU; the Lady Toppers will open C-USA play on Thursday, Jan. 4, with a home battle against archrival Middle Tennessee.
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.
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Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Athletic Communications