MOBILE, Ala. — In four losses this season, Western Kentucky has turned the ball over an average of 19 times.
Handling the ball was a major factor Wednesday in a 56-46 loss at South Alabama. The Lady Toppers (15-4, 8-2 Sun Belt Conference) had 23 turnovers while trying to come back on the road in conference play.
WKU cut a 13-point halftime deficit to seven with 8:45 to play. The Lady Tops then turned it over six times from there with a chance to slice into the Lady Jags’ lead.
Down 46-39, Alexis Govan turned it over. Down 48-41, Bianca McGee threw it away. Trailing 51-44, McGee turned it over again. Behind 52-44 with 1:32 left, Jalynn McClain fumbled away a possession to end WKU’s hopes of a comeback.
“With this team we have to go back to square one and we got to get ready,” WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “Turnovers are something we hadn’t been doing and turning it over in crucial situations like we did tonight.”
Wright’s big night
The WKU defense had no answer for Brianna Wright.
A 6-foot-1-inch freshman, Wright scored a career-high 20 points for the Lady Jags in the win. She scored 10 points in less than 12 minutes to give USA some momentum in the first half.
“We’ve got to do what we can every game to figure out how to make adjustments,” Heard said. “In the beginning she had 10 points early. There wasn’t an answer and she knew that.”
USA’S Nixon doesn’t play
South Alabama’s Mary Nixon did not play Wednesday. The senior suffered a concussion in a 61-51 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Jan. 16. The 5-foot-10 guard is averaging 11.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
NOTES — WKU guard Alexis Govan, who ranked 23rd in the nation in scoring coming in, needs 37 points to become the first Lady Topper to score 400 points in a season since 2008-09. She also recorded her 100th career assist Wednesday ... WKU forward Chastity Gooch has 382 career rebounds and 496 career points. ... WKU fell short of matching the 8-1 start on the road in 1990-91 and its best overall stretch since going 19-3 in 1994-95.