The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team earned a hard-fought 75-62 win Friday at Mercer, playing in front of a football homecoming crowd and in the second game of a doubleheader with the men’s team in Macon, Ga.
WKU was led by four different double-digit scorers on the night. Raneem Elgedawy logged the 12th double-double of her career with 18 points and 19 rebounds; Whitney Creech poured in 17 points, eight of which came in the final quarter; Meral Abdelgawad added 15 points and Dee Givens narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Toppers’ win came against an NCAA Tournament team in both the 2018-19 and 2017-18 seasons. Last season, the Bears nearly upset No. 2 seed Iowa. Mercer has gone 105-28 over the last five seasons, including a 48-10 home record.
Mercer scored first, but WKU scored the next 12 points to take the lead. That run was fueled by a pair of 3-pointers from Abdelgawd and Elgedawy, who scored four points and capped by a breakaway layup from Givens after a steal. The Bears didn’t go away though, outscoring the Lady Toppers 12-9 in the remainder of the period.
The Lady Toppers struggled offensively in the second period. A free throw from Elgedawy and a 3-pointer from Creech opened scoring in the quarter, but outside of a Myriah Haywood free throw WKU didn’t score again until the final minute of the frame.
A one-point game going into the third quarter, neither team was able to separate from the other and the contest went into the final quarter tied at 47.
WKU scored 28 points in the fourth quarter, the most in a quarter for the Lady Toppers since scoring 30 against UTSA on Jan. 31. However, the game was still tied 52-all at the 6:36 mark.
Elgedawy made good on a three-point play, but Mercer answered with a layup. Creech knocked down a 3-pointer and Abdelgawad scored a contested layup on the next play. From there, a Sherry Porter 3 and seven made free throws put the Bears away. Of those seven free throws, five of them came from Creech.
There were seven ties and five lead changes throughout the game overall.
The Lady Toppers pulled down 51 rebounds compared to Mercer’s 27.
WKU will be back in action Wednesday against Belmont in the home opener. That game is set for a 6 p.m. tip at E.A. Diddle Arena.