BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- ULM junior Alexar Tugler missed a deep 3-point attempt at the buzzer as Western Kentucky survived for a 65-63 victory on Wednesday evening inside E.A. Diddle Arena. The Lady Toppers led 63-56 with just over two minutes remaining, but the Warhawks battled back and took advantage of a pair of WKU misses at the free-throw line down the stretch to make things interesting.
Junior Ashleigh Simmons turned in a monster performance for the Warhawks with career-highs in both points (24) and rebounds (17) for her seventh double-double of the season. Simmons finished 8-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line, and scored 16 points in the second half to help ULM rally from a 13-point halftime deficit.
Alexis Govan led all scorers with 27 points and Chastity Gooch chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Lady Toppers.
Govan connected on a 3-pointer with 2:21 remaining to give Western Kentucky a 63-56 advantage. The Warhawks responded with five straight points -- capped by a layup from Simmons -- to cut the lead 63-61 with 39 second remaining.
Govan found Jalynn McClain for an open layup with 23 seconds left to give the Lady Toppers a 65-61 lead. Junior Jasmine Shaw converted a jumper at the other end for the Warhawks and McClain missed the front end of a one-and-one with 5 seconds remaining to give ULM the final shot. Tugler sprinted down court and took a well-contested 3-pointer that bounced high off the backboard, sealing the WKU victory.
Tugler finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Shaw added 13 points for ULM. The Warhawks shot 45.5 percent in the second half and finished the game shooting 38.1 percent.
The Warhawks made just 2 of their first 18 shot attempts as the Lady Toppers pushed out to a 24-8 advantage at the 7:26 mark of the first half.
ULM responded with a 12-2 run to cut the Western Kentucky lead to 26-20 with 3:47 to play before halftime, but Govan scored four straight points and Bianca McGee hit a deep 3-pointer in the final seconds to give the Lady Toppers a 35-22 advantage at the break.
The Lady Toppers led 43-31 early in the second half before the Warhawks put together a 15-2 run to take their first advantage of the game. Shaw scored five points and Simmons added three points as ULM scored 10 straight points to cut the lead to 43-41, then after a layup from WKU, Tugler scored five straight points to give the Warhawks a 45-44 advantage with 9:50 remaining.
WKU answered with a 10-1 spurt -- keyed by five points from Govan -- to re-gain the lead for good.
The Warhawks conclude their final road trip of the regular season at Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 3 p.m.