The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team held its first practice of the season Monday.
Women’s basketball teams can begin practicing 40 days before their regular season opener and can have 30 practices during that span. I watched the final 30 minutes or so of practice, during which the major emphasis was getting up and down the court and executing in transition offense.
The team has 11 players, 10 of which practiced Monday. Sophomore guard Ileana Johnson sat out with an ankle sprain, according to coach Michelle Clark-Heard.
We talked after practice with Heard, sophomore guard Alexis Govan and freshman guard Micah Jones.
A few of their comments are available below. I’ll have more in Tuesday’s Daily News and more on recruiting later this week.
On the team’s fast tempo: “I impress it every day. We don’t walk anywhere in practice. We’re trying to put in a motion offense that’s not complicated for them, but lets us get up the floor in transition and score out of different sets.”
On her first practice at WKU: “I’m super-excited. I was just looking forward to today and working, and I was really impressed with our girls with our intensity and how hard we worked. This is one of the days I’ve been dreaming for, and I think the girls were just as excited as I was.”
Playing fast to make up for lack of size: We talk about energy, passion and the different things we want to get better at. You all look at the roster. You know we’re not tall. We don’t have a lot of size, so we’re going to focus on defense and things we can do and getting good at them.”
On Johnson sitting out: “We don’t need anybody to go down. We need all our bodies.”
On first day: “We’re working hard to get better every day. The upperclassmen are really leading us and showing us what to do. I think we worked hard and improved.”
On style of play: “We’re going to be a big defensive team, so we’re going to try to get steals and push the ball. We’re a bunch of guards. We’re going to be undersized, so we have to push the ball.”
On being a leader as a sophomore: “It’s going to be an adjustment, but we’re ready to take on any role. We just want to win games. It was energy out of nowhere today. Everybody was so excited and going hard, and we got better.”
“I loved seeing everybody have as much energy as me, or me feeding off them because they have more energy than me.”
“We’re going to get in people on defense. We’re not letting anything go by us. You’re not getting in the lane without getting roughed up a little bit. And we’re pushing, so you better be ready to run with us.”