Despite a career-high 21 points from Dee Givens and a second-half rally, Western Kentucky dropped a 90-83 decision to Oklahoma on Friday night in Norman, Okla.
The Lady Toppers outscored the Sooners 58-52 in a second-half shootout after trailing 38-25 at halftime.
“I felt like on offense we were being just a little more selfish instead of being unselfish,” head coach Greg Collins said in a news release. “Unfortunately right now our offense affects our defense and that showed in the first half. We played much better defense in the second half but I think that was the key. In the second half, we were able to get out and run a little bit, which was what we were trying to do.”
WKU fell to 0-2 on the season with both losses at the hands of a Power 5 opponent, while Oklahoma opened its season with a victory.
WKU withstood an 11-0 run by the Sooners through the heart of the opening quarter, and after trailing by as much as 18-9, pulled within four by the end of the frame.
With 1:33 remaining, Alexis Brewer connected on her first 3-point attempt of the night and Sherry Porter followed with a layup on WKU’s next offensive possession.
Kallie Searcy stretched the WKU run to 9-2 with a layup to open the second quarter and pull the Lady Toppers within two at 20-18.
Searcy went on to draw a charge on Oklahoma’s following possession to get the ball back for WKU. From that point, however, OU tallied a 16-0 run that included three 3-pointers. Arame Niang’s first points as a Lady Topper ended the scoring drought to make the score 36-25 in favor of the hosts.
At the half, WKU trailed 38-25 with five points each from both Brewer and Givens.
Following a Sooner fast-break layup to open the second half, WKU answered with the next five points to pull within 10 at 40-30. Meral Abdelgawad completed a three-point play to cap the run. Midway through the quarter, Oklahoma added its own 5-0 run to regain as much as a 17-point advantage.
WKU responded and closed the quarter with a 12-3 run, sparked by five points from Niang to trail by single digits at 56-48 with 10 minutes remaining.
Fourth-quarter action opened with a collective trio of 3-pointers to bring the score to 62-51 in favor of the Sooners.
Following a Coach Collins’ timeout, both sides turned on the scoring. From there, WKU added 32 more points in the quarter, while Oklahoma added 28 more itself.
WKU connected for five 3 pointers in the final quarter with four from Givens, who racked up all 16 of her second-half points in the frame. The redshirt junior is the first Lady Topper to knock down 15 or more points in a single quarter this season, as she finished with a career-high 21.
Trailing by as many as 16 points on two separate occasions during the final 10 minutes, WKU used runs of six and seven points to work itself back into the game. The final seven-point margin of 90-83, however, would be the closest the Lady Toppers could get to the Sooners. Abdelgawad converted her second three-point play of the final quarter with one second remaining on the clock to bring her point total to 17 on the night.
In addition to her first-ever double-digit scoring game in the red and white, Abdelgawad filled the stat sheet with nine rebounds, five assists and a steal.
Elgedawy added 14 points for the second straight outing with a 7-of-11 shooting performance to go along with four rebounds.
Niang finished with 10 points – including a pair of 3s – and three rebounds in her Lady Topper debut.
Defensively, the Lady Toppers were able to force 26 Oklahoma turnovers and capitalized with 20 points off those turnovers.
Next time out, the Lady Toppers will return home to E.A. Diddle Arena to take on their third-straight Power 5 opponent in Iowa.
Tuesday’s game time is 6 p.m.