Below are a few thoughts from WKU women’s basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard today heading into Friday’s season-opening home exhibition game against Harding University.
Heard started her media availability by announcing that assistant coach Curtis Turley has resigned and junior guard Bianca McGee will be ineligible for the first semester because of transfer rules. You can read more about both of those situations here.
On first game as head coach: “I’m really, really excited. I came to the guys’ exhibition game the other night. I just kind of wanted to walk in and get that feel again. I think our girls are super-excited, and they’ve been working hard. I saw some great things in our closed scrimmage against the University of Louisville, so I’m excited to see – for the community and everybody else – how much we’ve progressed since we got together.”
On what she’s seen in last few days: “I was really impressed with our freshmen. You all will see that a lot of them have stepped up. I’ve been really pleased with Micah Jones. She’s done a lot of great things, and she’s in a position now where she’s filling in at the point guard position. She’s done an unbelievable job.”
Getting consistency from freshmen: “We are young, so you know how that goes. They could be really good one day, and another day you have to find out how to get them as excited as they are every day in practice.”
Do you have an idea of a starting five? “I do, but it really doesn’t matter because of the way we play. Everybody’s going to play. Maybe here or there, there’s a player I’m going back and forth with, but I think that’s the greatest thing about this team – the competitiveness every day. That’s a great problem to have as a coach, to figure out who’s going to be the starter or who’s going to do this. I think it’ll all balance itself out because of the way we’re playing. My goal is to get the best five on the floor in the beginning to bring that energy and spark, and then go from there with rotating and subbing people in.”
More on Micah Jones: “I think she is one of the toughest kids. She’s very hard-nosed tough and knows the game of basketball. She’s very steady and has done an incredible job moving to the point. … I knew of Micah and her strengths, but a lot of people consider her a shooter. She can shoot the basketball, but I didn’t know her headiness and ability to put people in position to score.”
Thoughts on freshman Kendall Noble: “Kendall Noble is very gifted. She can pass the ball very well, sees the floor very well. I’m on her constantly, day in and day out, about shooting the ball because she’s gifted in that sense, too. She would rather be a pass-first player, but we’re working every day for her to continue to be aggressive so she can be that offensive threat we need her to be.”
Thoughts on freshman Jalynn McClain: “Jalynn is unbelievable for us defensively. She’s very fundamentally sound. We’re working right now to try to put her offense there.”
Thoughts on freshman Mariah Sunkett: “Mariah Sunkett is going to be one that as the year progresses, she’s going to have a chance to be really good. She’s just so long, athletic and can run, and can score in transition. The game is a little fast for her right now, but we have to continue to get her better and better.”
On the challenges Harding will present: “It’s always hard when you play an exhibition because we don’t have any film on them. But looking at the box scores, they shoot the 3 pretty well. We’re going to have to guard, and the biggest thing we want to focus on is us. We’re working on a lot of things defensively, and we want to focus on those things to get us prepared to head down to Murray State.”