WICHITA, Kan. – Behind a career-high 38 points from Rangie Bessard, Wichita State held off Temple, 88-81, Wednesday night in Charles Koch Arena.
Wichita State (11-16, 6-7) also saw the school record for field goal percentage in a single game come crashing down. The Shockers shot a blistering 70 percent from the field to break the previous record of 65.4 percent, which was tied earlier this season.
For Bessard, it was her third career 30-point game and first of the season. She was just three points away from the school record of 41 set by Kareema Williams. Bessard missed just four shots (13-of-17) all game and also hit 10-of-12 free throws.
Angiee Tompkins (17), Jeliah Preston (11) and Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage (10) rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Shockers. Keke Thompson dished out eight of the team’s 26 assists, where were a season high. Thompson’s eight dimes were a career best.
The Shockers hit 17-of-22 field goal attempts after halftime en route to the record-breaking 70 percent mark. WSU also converted on 7-of-13 attempts from deep and they needed every one of them to combat 19 turnovers and being outrebounded by Temple, 29-26.
Temple hit 12 three-pointers on 34 attempts and shot 45 percent overall, but could not get stops on the defensive end.
Tanaya Atkinson led the Owls with 22 points and three other Temple players finished in double-figures.
Wichita State scored the first seven points of the game by forcing three turnovers and hitting 3-of-4 field goals, leading to an early Temple timeout.
Following the timeout, the Owls responded with a 9-2 run to tie the game at 9-9 with 4:30 remaining in the quarter. Back-to-back three-pointers from Lozada-Cabbage would put the Shockers back in front, 15-11.
The Shockers would take a seven-point lead with 1:30 to go, but the Owls would close with the final four points capped by a steal and score with just five seconds remaining. Lozada-Cabbage (8) and Tompkins (7) had 15 of the team’s 21 points in the quarter.
Both teams knocked down a trio of three-pointers in the first 10 minutes.
The Owls were keyed in defensively on Bessard to begin the game, as the Rosharon, Texas, native didn’t record her first points until a pair of free throws at the 6:43 mark. They wouldn’t be able to contain her for long however.
A Wichita State 16-2 run covering 4:30 opened a 40-27 lead with less than 2:00 minutes remaining until halftime. Nine straight points from Bessard to close the half sent the Shockers into the break with a 45-31 lead.
The 45 first half points marked a season high and the Shockers torched the nets to the tune of 64 percent from the field, including 5-of-9 from downtown. Three Shockers were in double-figures by halftime led by 11 each from Bessard and Tompkins and 10 from Lozada-Cabbage.
WSU had assists on 12 of the team’s 18 made field goals, while forcing 10 Temple turnovers. Temple started strong from beyond the arc but faded down the stretch and would finish the just 4-of-15.
To begin the second half, WSU converted on its first five attempts to bump its field goal percentage to 70 percent, while maintaining a 14-point lead.
With 3:38 remaining, head coach Keitha Adams took her first timeout after a quick 6-0 Temple spurt trimmed the lead to single digits, 59-50.
At the end of three quarters Wichita State held a 67-56 lead thanks to 13 points from Bessard. She scored the final 13 points of the frame for WSU to keep the lead in double-digits. The Shockers were sitting at 68 percent shooting at the end of three.
Temple cut the lead to just four with a little over four minutes remaining, but the Owls could not stop Bessard. She scored 11 of the Shockers’ first 18 points in the quarter.
A six-point Shocker lead with 1:34 remaining was cut to four with 37.1 seconds left and could have been more, but missed free throws came back to bite the Owls. For the game, Temple was just 11-of-22 at the free throw line.
Wichita State makes the trip to the Lone Star State to face SMU on Saturday. It will be the second matchup between the Shockers and Mustangs this season, as WSU will go for the season sweep.