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Western Kentucky redshirt senior forward Sandra Skinner fumbles to catch a rebounded ball during WKU's 74-63 win against Oklahoma on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, at E. A. Diddle Arena. (Grace Ramey/photo@bgdailynews.com)

The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team closed out its final game at E.A. Diddle Arena in 2019 with some flair.

The Lady Toppers knocked off Oklahoma 74-63 on Wednesday for the program’s first victory over a Power Five opponent since the 2017-18 opener and the first over a Big 12 school since 1990.

They’ll look to use momentum from the win to help with a five-game road stretch, starting with a 2:30 p.m. CST game Saturday at Ball State.

“This will be another big test and another big challenge and we’re looking forward to an opportunity to beat a good team on the road,” second-year WKU head coach Greg Collins said following Wednesday’s game. “That’s our next bar that we want to push.”

WKU (6-2) has only one true road win so far this season, coming against Mercer 75-62 on Nov. 8 in the second game of the season. The Lady Toppers lost to Louisville 75-56 at the KFC Yum! Center to open the season and fell against Saint Mary’s in overtime 80-73 on Saturday in the team’s second game of the Saint Mary’s Thanksgiving Classic. WKU beat Tulsa in the first game of the event and is a perfect 4-0 playing in Diddle.

Ball State (4-3) also offers another opportunity for Collins. The Lady Toppers are 3-5 all time against the Cardinals, but haven’t beaten Ball State at Worthen Arena since Collins joined the program in 2012. WKU is 2-4 against the Cardinals since Collins joined the Lady Toppers in the 2012-13 season, including an 0-3 record on the road. WKU lost to Ball State 86-83 at home last season for its second straight loss in the series.

“Ball State is a great team. Brady (Sallee) does a super job coaching that team and we’ve never beaten them there since I’ve been here,” Collins said. “The last time we had Ivy and Tashia Brown and we still got clocked by 20-plus points up there.”

The Cardinals are coming off of a 67-56 loss to Wisconsin in the Bahamas Hoopfest on Nov. 29 that ended a string of three straight wins. Ball State beat Xavier, Butler and Lehigh during that stretch and also have a win over Purdue Fort Wayne.

Ball State averages 63 points per game and has three scorers averaging double figures, led by Oshlynn Brown’s 11.3 points per game. The 6-foot-1 junior forward also brings down a team-high 8.9 rebounds per game. Scott High School graduate Anna Clephane, the 2018 Region 10 Player of the Year, averages 10.3 points and Thelma Dis Agustsdottir averages 10.1.

WKU held an Oklahoma team averaging 81.6 points to just 63 on Wednesday and forced 31 turnovers to bounce back from Saturday’s loss to Saint Mary’s, which snapped a five-game winning streak. The Lady Toppers are allowing an average of 63.1 points this season and have held opponents to just 58.3 in their six wins. They allowed Louisville 75 and Saint Mary’s 80, 13 of which came in overtime.

“We needed (Wednesday’s) win,” Collins said. “I felt like we played a really great second half at Saint Mary’s. We didn’t play better defense the second half – we changed our defense – but we still had a shot to win at the end, which is what counts. We wanted it to end in our favor. It was big to get this one (against Oklahoma).”

The Lady Toppers are averaging over 75 points per game, led by Raneem Elgedawy’s 17.1. The 6-foot-4 forward also leads the team with 10.8 rebounds per game. Whitney Creech and Dee Givens and averaging 16.1 and 15.3 points, respectively. Elgedawy is coming off a 23-point performance against Oklahoma, but left with 3:29 to play with what Collins called a turned ankle. He said following the game he believed she would be “good to go.”

Givens and Alexis Brewer – who has yet to play this season while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery – led WKU in last year’s loss to Ball State with 19 points each. Elgedawy had 12 for the Lady Toppers and Brown led the Cardinals with 25 in a game featuring 14 ties and 10 lead changes. WKU battled back from nine points down to make it a one-possession game in the final minute, but Arame Niang’s game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer didn’t connect.

Saturday’s game will be followed with games at Samford, Purdue, North Texas and Rice – the final two open Conference USA play – before returning to Diddle for a Jan. 9 game against UAB.

WESTERN KENTUCKY (6-2) AT BALL STATE (4-3)

2:30 p.m., Saturday, Muncie, Ind.

Probable starters

WESTERN KENTUCKY

Dee Givens, f, 6-1, r-sr. (15.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg); Raneem Elgedawy, f, 6-4, jr. (17.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg); Meral Abdelgawad, g, 5-11, so. (7.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg); Whitney Creech, g, 5-8, sr. (16.1 ppg, 3.9 apg); Sherry Porter, g, 5-7, jr (9.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg).

BALL STATE

Oshlynn Brown, f, 6-1, jr. (11.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg); Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, f, 6-0, so. (10.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg); Blake Smith, f, 6-3, so. (3.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg); Sydney Freeman, g, 5-8, fr. (8.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg); Jasmin Samz, g, 5-9, gr. (8.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg).

Television

ESPN+

Radio

ESPN 102.7 FM and 1450 AM in BG

Coaches

Greg Collins (26-17 second season; 26-17 overall) WKU; Brady Sallee (132-101 8th season; 268-211 overall) Ball State.

Series record

Ball State leads the series 5-3 (Ball State won the last meeting 86-83 on Dec. 16, 2018, at E.A. Diddle Arena).

Last time out

WKU won 74-63 against Oklahoma on Wednesday; Ball State lost to Wisconsin 67-56 on Nov. 29.{&end}

– Follow sports reporter Jared MacDonald on Twitter @JMacDonaldSport or visit bgdailynews.com.

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