Hilltoppers put down Troy in SBC opener

Published 10:45 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Troy Trojans women’s basketball team stepped into conference play on Wednesday night, and in doing so, began the games that matter most.

Unfortunately, the Trojans’ losing ways continued as the team played host to Western Kentucky at Sartain Hall.

After a very competitive first half of play, Troy was unable to keep up with the Hilltoppers, as the home team would lose ground early in the second half, on rout to a 78-61 loss.

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“What happened was I think some of our girls were bothered by fatigued,” Troy head coach Mike Murphy said following the loss. “And that’s when Western Kentucky really took off.

“The majority of our girls were all pretty gassed in the second half and we just don’t have the kind of depth that (WKU) has. But I still think that we played really well and that was reflective in our shooting percentage.”

The loss dropped Troy to 1-6 on the season, and gave WKU its first win of the season.

In the first half alone, there were 14 lead changes, as both teams fought back and fourth.

However, the Hilltoppers began to take control with just under five minutes remaining, as they took a 29-27 lead and never looked back. To close the first half, WKU went on an 11-2 run, jumping out to a 36-29 lead.

In the first five minutes of the second half, the Hilltoppers took a double-digit lead at 47-35, thanks to an 11-4 run and one that the Trojans would not be able to overcome.

The closest Troy would get was 10 points, as WKU continued to sink shots, as they cruised to the 17-point victory.

WKU had four players in double-digits, led by Arnika Brown, who finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds.

The only two players in double-digits for Troy were DeAngela Sword and Donette McNair, who finished with 21 and 15 points, respectively.

As a team, the Trojans out shot the Hilltoppers, shooting 50 percent from the floor, while the visiting team shot just 48.6 percent.

Troy committed 23 turnover however, 13 of which took place in the second half, and was out rebounded 40 to 30, allowing WKU to get 21 offensive boards.

While the Trojans shot well from the floor, the same could not be said from beyond the arc, as Troy failed to hit a 3-pointer for the first time in 58 games.

WKU was 4-of-12 from the 3-point line.

“I thought that we did play hard most of the game,” Murphy said. “I can see this team growing together.

“We have other players stepping up for us. We have a young team and I think that is definitely something that is hurting us right now, but we are improving and that is the most important thing.”

The loss drops Troy to 0-1 in Sun Belt play.

“Anytime you lose, it’s disappointing,” the head coach said.

“But we are gaining experience, and that is something that cannot be taught. We are learning a lot right now and I think it will show on the court more and more.”

The Trojans will be back in action on Saturday against Belhaven as the team enters the second game of a three game home stretch. Tip off is set for 2 p.m.