BERKELEY, Calif. – WKU set a school NCAA Tournament record with 12 three-point field goals but came up just short in a 66-64 loss to fifth-seeded Texas in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the Haas Pavilion on the campus of the University of California.
The loss ended a historic season for the Lady Toppers that saw the team become the first team in Conference USA history to win 30 games as a league member as WKU went 30-5 on the year, claiming the Conference USA Regular Season and Conference USA Tournament championships. It was the second time in program history that WKU won 30 games, only surpassed by a 32 win season when WKU reached the Final Four in 1986.
The senior duo of Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan combined for 45 points in their final games in a WKU uniform while Micah Jones added nine points. Kendall Noble added five points and 10 rebounds.
Going up against Texas' height, WKU went to the perimeter, knocking down four three-pointers in the first half. Gooch was 50 percent from behind the arc, posting three toward her 11 first-half points. The turnover game was key in the game with WKU forcing 19 in the contest, including 13 in the first half.
With Texas ahead 10-9 at the 16-minute mark, both team's offenses struggled to score, as the game went more than five minutes without a basket. Noble put in a layup to end the drought and give WKU its first lead of the game at 11-10. The Longhorns would go back up by four, but a layup by Johnson after a Texas turnover followed by back-to-back buckets from Govan had WKU ahead 21-18 with 3:35 to go. A Texas three knotted it up before the Longhorns regained the advantage; however, WKU went into the locker room with a tied game after a Govan layup and a pair of Gooch free throws.
WKU came out of the gates in the second half making their first four shots that included three-point shots from Jones and Gooch. With Texas going 3-of-12 from the field to open its half, the Lady Toppers held the lead for most of the half, leading by as much as seven after a Noble free throw with 7:28 to play.
Cal then went on a 12-3 run to pull ahead 57-55 with 4:11 left. Govan answered with a three to go up 58-57 before a free throw and basket gave the Longhorns another lead at 60-58. Govan tied the game at 60-60 on a pair of free throws before Texas scored with 2:21 and 1:39 left to go up 64-60.
Ivy Brown's three with 39.5 left put WKU within one at 64-63 before Govan tied it at 64-64 on a free throw with 25.6 left.
Brooke McCarty's free throws with 20.8 left were the decision as Govan's three in the final seconds didn't fall.
Texas post Imani McGee-Stafford had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead Texas.