Heard talks 2013 signing class, Northern Kentucky game

We met with WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard today to talk about her 2013 signing class – which includes Kierra Muhammad, Bria Gaines and Aleeya Harris – as well as Saturday’s home opener against Northern Kentucky.

Here are Heard’s comments:

MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD

On the signing class: “It’s a big day for us. My staff and I, we worked really hard to get us in a position where we could fill some spots that we thought we would need in the future. I’m excited about all of them.”

On 6-2 center Bria Gaines: “Bria Gaines is going to be unbelievable. She’s a kid that has a ton of talent, and I think already has a college body. She fits the needs we have. She rebounds really well, can score around the basket, and I think the biggest thing is that she’s super-excited about being a Lady Topper.”

On 6-1 forward Aleeya Harris: “I think her potential is unbelievable because she’s been a two-sport athlete. Athletically, she’s going to do a lot of things that we love to do, as far as getting up and down the floor and pushing the ball. She’s very athletic and can jump out of the gym, so I’m excited about that the things she’s going to bring to the table. To get her in individual skill and work with us on the court, I think she’ll be able to progress really fast.”

On 5-4 guard Kierra Muhammad: “She was the first one to commit and believe in everything we’re trying to do on the Hill. She’s going to bring a big dynamic with what we’re trying to do with pressing, getting up the floor and pushing the ball. She’s really aggressive defensively, and she’s really smart with getting the ball to the right people at the right time.”

On having a full year to recruit this class: “I’m not going to slight the opportunity that I had when I came in here to sign the Kendall Noble’s and the LeAsia Wright’s and all of the kids that came in that first group. But what this allowed us to do was build those relationships, talk to those kids all the time, get them here on the official and unofficial visits and get to know their families.”

On what will be done with the final scholarship: “It just depends on what happens. We are actually still in the process of recruiting a post kid, so it’s just going to depend on what happens in the next couple of days or the rest of this week. We’ll go from there and evaluate. Being able to hold a scholarship out there sometimes is great because you never know about transfers or anything that can happen out there midseason or at the end of the season. We never want to close our doors to anything.”

On Northern Kentucky: “They’re a good team. They’re 0-2 right now, but I think they shoot the 3 very well. They have some post kids with some size. With our size issues, sometimes that can cause problems in different ways. It’s been pretty good that we’ve had a chance to have this week off. … It gave us a good opportunity to get some of our kids, with our numbers, some rest.”

On NKU’s Kayla Thacker: “She’s a very aggressive player that basically just loves to put the ball in the hole. She loves to drive to get to the basket. She can shoot it.”

On game plan against NKU: “Our goal is to get out of the gates running, put that pressure defense on, take care of ourselves and get better. That’s what I talk about every day.”

On what she learned from Murray State win: “The biggest thing is the maturity of this young group. … They’re learning and understanding now why the staff is pushing them and doing all of the things we’re doing in practice. You can continue to keep doing those things, but you have to see some success along the way. We’re going to go through growing pains, but that was one I was really excited about. I told them Murray State was going to make a run. Every team you play, there are always things that happen. I was proud of our girls because when they made their big run and cut the lead to nine, we stepped up, and they did exactly what I asked them to do.”

On getting LeAsia Wright back from thumb injury: “I don’t know conditioning-wise and how much she’ll play, but she practiced some yesterday. It was really exciting because she gave us a burst of energy on defense. I’m looking forward to her getting out there on the floor Saturday and everybody getting a chance to see her.”

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