It wasn’t always pretty, but the Western Kentucky women’s basketball team found a way when it mattered most – pulling away for a 64-50 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Despite committing 29 turnovers, WKU (9-4 overall, 2-0 Conference USA) was able to hold off a fourth-quarter rally by the Lady Techsters to finish off a perfect first week of conference play.

“It’s a learning process,” WKU coach Greg Collins said. “How do you win a game when you have 29 turnovers? Well, you better play some defense, you better outrebound them and you better not stop believing in what you do. That’s what I think I like the most about this team. They continue to be, not just resilient, but they continue to show grit and guts and they continue to believe in each other and keep fighting. That will go a long way.”

WKU sophomore guard Hope Sivori said starting 2-0 in conference is a big confidence builder for a team with only one upperclassman – senior guard Meral Abdelgawad.

“We are young and we struggle with confidence a lot,” Sivori said. “I think being 2-0 as a young team that going into conference was ranked 12th (in the preseason poll), that means a lot to us. We like being the underdog.”

Louisiana Tech (8-5, 0-2) built an 8-2 lead in the early minutes before WKU scored 12 straight points to take the lead for good.

The Lady Toppers’ lead grew to 23-11 after Sivori scored in transition off an assist from Abdelgawad early in the second quarter. Louisiana Tech was able to stay within striking distance, trimming the deficit to 32-25 by halftime after three free throws from Lotte Sant in the final seconds.

WKU pushed its advantage back to 46-33 after a 3 from Sivori late in the third quarter, but the Lady Techsters came roaring back. Louisiana Tech scored 12 straight to pull within 46-45 with 6:39 left. Alexis Mead stopped the run with a 3 and Sivori and Macey Blevins added 3s in the next two minutes as WKU extended the lead back to 57-47. Louisiana Tech was unable to get closer than eight points the rest of the way.

“The whole game we struggled with turnovers,” Sivori said. “Right there we had to crack down and take care of the ball, rebound the ball – the same stuff we have been going over in practice.”

While Collins praised his team’s poise down the stretch, he said turnovers were a big part of Louisiana Tech’s late run.

“There is another side to that coin,” Collins said. “The reason we got in that spot was because we turned the ball over and over and over. Did they show that resiliency to play touch down the stretch? Absolutely. Could we have put ourselves in a different spot by maybe making a little better decisions down the stretch when we had the ball? Sure. It’s a learning process. With this group good or bad, whatever we are going, wait a minute because it is going to change.”

Abdelgawad led WKU with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Maya Meredith added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Sivori finished with 13 points.

WKU finished 11-for-28 from 3-point range, including 4-for-7 in the fourth quarter, while Louisiana Tech was 1-for-11.

“I feel like (the 3-point shot) was a really good energy booster for all of us,” WKU sophomore forward Selma Kulo said. “For me, I would go in and rebound and when I see the ball go through the net it’s like a relief. ‘Oh here we go. We are going to get going.’ ”

WKU will return to action at noon CST on Jan. 8, opening a three-game road trip at Florida International.{&end}