BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Longtime rivals Middle Tennessee and WKU engaged in a tightly-contested showdown but a strong push at the outset of the fourth quarter enabled the Lady Hilltoppers to take a 71-63 win in the first of two meetings between the teams here Saturday.
The game was tied 31-31 at halftime and WKU carried a slim 52-50 advantage into the final stanza, but the Lady Hilltoppers started the frame with a 7-2 run to create separation and held on to claim the win.
"I am as proud of my team as I was when I walked into the building today," Lady Raider Head Coach Rick Insell said following the game. "We didn't hit some shots that we usually do and that's part of it. We made too many mistakes to beat a good team on the road today. We will get back home and get back to work."
Freshman Aislynn Hayes led Middle Tennessee (10-6, 2-2) with 18 points while adding five rebounds and five assists. Hayes connected on four of the team's seven 3-pointers.
Anastasia Hayes followed up her triple-double at Marshall with another solid performance, tallying 12 points, six assists and six rebounds. Charity Savage reached double figures scoring for the fifth straight game with 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field. Savage was 11-of-12 from the field on the road swing.
Alexis Whittington supplied nine points off of the bench on 4-of-6 shooting, while Courtney Whitson finished with seven points and four rebounds.
One of the biggest disadvantages for Middle Tennessee was on the boards, where WKU (10-5, 2-2) won the rebounding battle, 43-29. Of the 43 caroms for WKU, 19 were offensive rebounds helping the Lady Hilltoppers rack up 19 second-chance points.