The Sun Belt Conference hosted its women’s basketball media day teleconference this morning with all 11 of the league’s coaches, including five newcomers.
Western Kentucky was selected fifth in the East Division in the preseason coaches poll, and sophomores Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan were named to the all-conference third team.
WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard’s comments are available below. I’ll have snippets from the other conference coaches later this afternoon.
On being tabbed fifth in the East: “As coaches, I have to be realistic and look at the people that we lost and who we have coming back. But we definitely use that as fuel for the fire for the program. I sent a mass text out to our ladies this morning, and we talked about how our whole slogan is ‘On the Rise.’ We’re picked fifth on the East side, so we can’t do anything but go up. That’s our mission.”
On all-conference selections Gooch and Govan: “They’ve been fantastic. They’re both going to have to play huge roles. Alexis has worked on her game tremendously and has really worked on being a leader off the floor. She’s one of my captains. We’re young, and a lot of the stuff will fall on them, but it’ll be a collective effort as a group.”
On five new coaches in the league: “Anytime you start adding different coaches, you add a great dynamic to any conference. Now, the challenge comes on the different programs with how things will change, how to prepare, how to get ready. As a young coach, it’s exciting for me to go up against some of the veterans and put some of things I’ve used through the years to use.”
On starting conference play in the third game of the season: “When you talk about FIU coming into our place … it’s going to be tough. At the end of the day, we have to prepare each and every day to be the best we can be. It just so happened that we had to fit that game in at that time because the Sun Belt had scheduled us for a game the day after Christmas, and both coaches agreed that we didn’t want our kids to have to play the day after Christmas. You have to take the good with the bad, and the good is that we’ll be here at home, so we look forward to the competition.”
On who will step up with so many young players: “A lot of it is going to be fall on Alexis’ shoulders because I feel like she had the opportunity to play some quality minutes for Western last year. But it will be across the board. We’re all so young, so a lot of them are going to be thrown in the fire. But our job as a staff is to prepare them and get them ready and put them in the best situation we can for what’s about to happen.”