BOWLING GREEN, Ky. --- Western Kentucky's Shala Resse and Natalie Powers combined for 24 second-half points to lead the Lady Toppers over Kentucky 84-79 on Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Cats held an early lead by using a balanced scoring attack and limiting their turnovers to only six. Senior LaTonya McDole, who charted her 1,000th career-point in the first half, and sophomore SeSe Helm, led the way for Kentucky with eight each en route to a 37-35 UK halftime lead.
Kentucky held on to the momentum after the half, extending the lead to 58-48 with 12:45 remaining. Freshman Keiko Tate gave the Cats a spark off the bench, charting seven of her 11 points in the second half.
But the Toppers responded with a 7-0 run and took their first lead of the game, 68-67, with 5:30 left. Western used another run to lead by as many as eight with four minutes to go.
A McDole layup with 30 seconds on the clock pulled the Cats within three, but they could get no closer. Western made all 15 of its free throw attempts in the second half to seal the win.
The Cats were also outrebounded for only the second time this season, 38-29.
"I thought our intensity was there, but it came down to rebounding," UK coach Bernadette Mattox said. "We gave up too many rebounds and too many second chance points. We put them on the line 23 times and they hit 22 of them. That killed us. Natalie (Powers) really stepped up for them and played tremendously. She got them baskets when they needed it."
Helm, who played in front of a hometown crowd for the first time since her high school days at Warren Central, led Kentucky with 18 points and seven rebounds, her seventh straight double-digit performance.
McDole and Potts finished with 14 points each. Potts made a career high four 3-pointers in her first collegiate start. Also finishing with double figures was junior guard Rita Adams with 10.
"They played me one on one a lot and that is the way I like to play," Helm said. "It was great to be home but this game wasn't about me. It was about Western and Kentucky. We fell short and we'll just have to get back to practice and get better."
Powers led the Lady Toppers with a game-high 24 points, followed by Reese's 16. Forward Kristina Covington and guard Camryn Whitaker also netted double digits with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
With the loss, Kentucky drops to 3-4 on the season, all four losses coming on the road. The Toppers improve to 4-4. UK leads the all-time series with WKU 14-11. WKU defeated UK for the first time since a 81-61 win on Dec. 5, 1995.
The Cats take a short break for final exams before meeting Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, Va., on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. ET.