The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team (3-1) took its first loss of the season Saturday with an 83-68 defeat against Illinois State at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Lady Toppers allowed the Redbirds to shoot 49 percent, make 9 of 20 3-pointers and net 16 of 19 free throws.
Sophomore guard Danay Fothergill paced WKU with 15 points. Sophomore guard Alexis Govan added 13 points, and sophomore forward Chastity Gooch posted her fourth straight double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Here’s a little of what coach Michelle Clark-Heard, Fothergill and Gooch had to say after the game:
MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD, coach
Opening statement: “For as much as I’ve harped on our defense, tonight it was very disappointing. We gave up 83 points, and that’s not something we’re gonna ever do and I don’t want to do. We’re not going to win ballgames if we let people score 80 points.”
On letting Sykes score 22 off the bench: “Our biggest thing is that we have to regroup and understand and know the roles of the other players that come off the bench.”
On defensive effort: “When you have a young team, every day’s a teaching moment. We all know we’re going to take some lumps and bruises, but the most important thing is that we understand what we’re capable of, and we’re capable of holding a team way under 83 points.
On Illinois State answering every bucket: “They come back and get another 3 the next time down, or they score on a basket, or we don’t get a loose ball. Those things, they add up. … Good teams never go away, and they’re a good team. Our job is to learn from it and get better.”
Moving forward: “As great as we felt when we were 3-0, now we’re 3-1. It’s still the same preparation, and we’ve got to go back and work on things to make sure we get ready for conference.”
On crowd of 1,566: “I want the fans to be able to see our players, even if they come in at halftime. What they do see is our team playing hard. We didn’t win tonight, but I’m willing to bet there are a lot of people who attended in the past and think we’re playing hard.”
DANAY FOTHERGILL, sophomore guard
On the loss: “Coach told us the important part of the second half was our defense. We knew that (Sykes) was on, and if we stopped her, our offense would come. Defense was what we had to do, and we didn’t get it done.”
On letting ISU penetration and dish: “Our defense is planned to stop the penetration. We’ve got to reach in and stop more of that drive and get our hands up.”
Making 55.6% from FT line: “Free throws are huge. They’re just focus and concentration. I knew I could’ve done better, but they’re huge. They’re free points.”
Moving on: “I think we have to just let today go and know that these next two games are big conference games. We have to step up and get wins so we can show our conference who we are and prove ourselves.”
CHASTITY GOOCH, sophomore forward
On Sykes’ night for ISU: “Coach said when she started making shots, ‘She’s feeling it. She’s going to keep shooting.’ That’s exactly what she did to us.”
How do you regroup? “We’re just going to do scouting reports and go over stuff in practice.”