NORFOLK, Va. -- The Old Dominion women’s basketball team dropped a hard fought 85-74 overtime loss to Western Kentucky on Thursday night at the Ted Constant Center. The Lady Monarchs fell to 11-14 overall and 7-6 in Conference USA, while the Lady Toppers, who are receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll, improved to 20-4 and 11-2 in the league.
Jennie Simms paced ODU with 28 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Ije Ajemba added nine points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Rhaven Kemp notched a career-high nine points, including six points from beyond the arc, and pulled in three rebounds.
ODU started the game efficiently, connecting on 4-of-8 shots (50.0%), while holding WKU to 35.7 percent from the floor. However, the Lady Toppers took almost double the amount of ODU’s shots (5-14) to hold a slight 11-10 lead by the first media timeout. Down one with 2:49 left in the first quarter, the Lady Monarchs put together a 10-5 run take a four-point lead after the opening 10 minutes. Kemp highlighted the run with two three-pointers, her first from downtown this season. She was 0-for-6 from three this season and went 2-for-2 in a span of one minute.
The Lady Monarchs cooled off offensively at the start of the second period, but held the Lady Toppers to just 3-for-10 from the field in the first 5:29 and continued to lead WKU by the 4:31 media timeout (28-25). Following the break, ODU picked up its intensity and scored four unanswered points to increase its lead to seven points (32-25) with 2:40 left in the half. WKU responded with a quick three points to bring the lead back to four points after an old-fashioned three-point play from Kendall Noble. Neither team would find the bottom of the net in the final minute of the half, as the Lady Monarchs entered the locker room with the four-point advantage over the Lady Toppers.
Simms led ODU in the first half with eight points, while Young added four points and five rebounds. The Lady Monarchs shot 48 percent (13-27) from the floor, while holding WKU to 35 percent on 12-for-34 shooting.
Old Dominion came out of the locker room on fire and took a 10-point lead just 1:15 into the third quarter with a three by Gianna Smith and a three-point play by Ajemba. WKU would pull within single digits over the next 2:30, but the Lady Monarchs grabbed a double-digit lead once again (45-35) with 6:06 left in the third period. Both teams traded baskets the rest of the half, as the Lady Monarchs only allowed WKU to get as close as six points the rest of the way. Kemp was once again a spark for ODU over the final minutes, as she scored three-straight points and assisted the final Old Dominion basket to give the Lady Monarchs a 56-50 edge heading into the final period.
ODU held WKU to a three-minute scoring drought during the fourth period and held a 10-point advantage over the Lady Toppers with 4:41 left in the game. Western Kentucky scored a fast six points to pull within four points by the 3:04 mark, forcing Old Dominion to take a 30-second timeout. The Lady Monarchs once again brought their lead to six points with 2:07 on the clock, but WKU never gave up and pulled within one point (66-65) with 1:35 left after an and-one and costly turnover by ODU under the Lady Toppers’ basket that led to a layup.
Simms drained two free-throws with 1:24 to give ODU the three-point advantage, however, WKU followed with a bucket from Tashia Brown to once again pull within one point with just over a minute to go. The Lady Monarchs turned the ball over with 42 seconds left to play and WKU called a timeout to advance the ball up the court. ODU picked up the defense and forced a five-second call, giving the ball back to the Lady Monarchs with 38 seconds left in the game. The turnover bug plagued ODU once again with 25 seconds left, giving WKU the chance to score the go-ahead bucket. Young fouled Ivy Brown with 12 seconds on the clock, but she only made one to tie the game at 68-68. Simms was just short on a three-pointer with three seconds on the game clock, as the game headed into overtime for the first time this season for the Lady Monarchs.
WKU took control during overtime and pulled away for its largest lead of the game (82-72) with 58 seconds left in the game. WKU closed the game with three points from the charity stripe to secure the victory. The Lady Toppers outscored ODU 17-6 in the five minute extra period.
ODU ended the game with a 44.3 shooting percentage (27-61), while WKU went 30-for-75 for a 40.0 percentage from the floor. The Lady Toppers controlled the boards and held a 47-34 edge over the Lady Monarchs, including a 22-10 advantage on the offensive end. ODU did dish out 14 assists on the night, compared to WKU’s five, and blocked eight shots, just one off its season high.
Tashia Brown led the Lady Toppers with 34 points and three steals, while Noble added 22 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Ivy Brown finished the game with a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds, to go along with her two assists, two blocks and two steals.
UP NEXT FOR ODU The Lady Monarchs are back in action on Saturday against the Marshall Thundering Herd at the Ted Constant Center. Saturday’s game will be streamed through Monarch Media and the C-USA Digital Network. The radio broadcast will be housed on ESPN 941, with the show beginning at 3:30 p.m. (ET). Live stats will also be available once the game starts.
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