The Western Kentucky women's basketball team opened Conference USA play on Friday with a 61-55 road victory in Ruston, La., against Louisiana Tech.
WKU (2-5 overall, 1-0 C-USA) was led by senior Fatou Pouye, who notched her first career double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Meral Abdelgawad also had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The last time two Lady Toppers earned a double-double in the same game was last season’s win at Louisiana Tech when Raneem Elgedawy and Abdelgawad did it.
Ally Collett also added 11 points.
It was a career high in both points and rebounds for Pouye. She has scored a career-high points in three of the last four games.
The Lady Toppers outrebounded the Lady Techsters (6-3, 1-2) 49-38. WKU improved to 31-2 under head coach Greg Collins when outrebounding opponents. The 49 rebounds were a season high for the Lady Toppers. WKU also outscored Louisiana Tech 32-20 in the paint.
WKU held Louisiana Tech to a season-low 55 points. In the last five seasons, the Lady Toppers are 42-1 when holding opponents to 60 points or less.
Brianna Harris led Louisiana Tech with 18 points, Keiunna Walker had 13 and Raizel Guinto had 12 on four made 3-pointers.
It was a close game the whole way, with 11 total lead changes and nine ties. The Lady Toppers entered the fourth quarter with a one-point lead, but Louisiana Tech scored four straight points to open the period.
With 6:22 left in the game, WKU found itself down 49-46. Myriah Haywood got a bucket to get the Lady Toppers within one and Pouye made a layup and a 3-pointer to give WKU a 53-49 lead. That lead would hold the rest of the game with the Lady Toppers outscoring the Lady Techsters 8-6 the remainder of the contest.
Plagued by turnovers all season, WKU kept better care of the ball Friday with a season-low 14 turnovers.
WKU has won 10 straight games against LA Tech and Friday's win brought the overall series to a 26-23 Lady Techsters lead.
The two teams will square off again Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CUSA.tv.