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WMU Women hold off Purdue Fort Wayne

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Western Michigan women's basketball team opened its 2018-19 season with a 69-61 victory over Purdue Fort Wayne on Thursday, Nov. 8 at University Arena.

The win marks the sixth season-opening win under head coach Shane Clipfell, who officially entered his seventh season at the helm of the Bronco women's basketball program on Thursday.

Four of the five Bronco starters scored in double digits. Leighah-Amori Wool led WMU with a career-high 17-point performance, shooting 5-for-17 from the field, 2-for-9 from three-point range, and 5-for-6 at the free throw line. Jasmyn Walker notched a double-double with 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Kamrin Reed scored a career-high 13 points off of 4-for-9 shooting the field, followed by 12 points from Meredith Miller, who tallied a career-high four field goals from beyond the arc. Nina Farkic also brought in a career-high nine rebounds.

WMU shot 20-for-59 from the field and 10-for-29 from long range. PFW out-rebounded the Broncos 39-38.

After going down 16-10 after the first quarter, the Brown & Gold responded with a 19-0 run to take a 29-18 lead, finished with a Jasmyn Walker three-pointer with 2:31 to play in the first half. A three-pointer from Miller with a minute and half remaining gave the Brown & Gold a 14-point lead, its largest of the game as the scoreboard read 32-18.

WMU took a 10-point lead into the break, leading 34-24. Despite shooting 29 percent from the floor compared to a 41.7 percent mark from Purdue Fort Wayne, the Broncos out-rebounded the Mastodons 24-15 in the first half.

The WMU second quarter surge was followed by a bit of a lull in the third. PFW outscored the Broncos 14-9 in the third quarter to trim the Western Michigan lead to 43-38, setting the tone for a back-and-forth final frame.

Minutes into the fourth quarter, the Mastodons strung together four consecutive made field goals, followed by a three-pointer with seven minutes remaining to take their first lead since early in the second quarter at 49-47. However, the Broncos answered with a three-pointer of their own from freshman Maddie Watters to regain a 50-49 lead with 6:24 left.

The couple more lead changes ensued prior to WMU shutting the door. With the game tied at 56-56 with 3:38 remaining after a PFW tip-in, the home team responded with a three-pointer from Wool and didn't look back, holding on to the lead in the final minutes to seal the season-opening win. The Broncos shot 8-for-12 from the field in the final quarter.

Western Michigan (1-0) returns to University Arena on Sunday, Nov. 11, hosting New Mexico State University. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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