Western Kentucky sophomore guard Alexis Govan scored a career-high 40 points, and the Lady Toppers stayed undefeated in Sun Belt Conference play Saturday with an 82-80 win over North Texas at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Govan made 16 of 20 field goals – the second-most makes in a game in program history – and her 40 points tied for the third-most in a game by a Lady Topper. Crystal Kelly scored a record 42 points Feb. 23, 2008, against Louisiana-Monroe.
The Lady Toppers improved to 11-2 and 4-0 in conference action. This year’s WKU squad is the first in program history to reach 11 wins before the new year.
Sophomore forward Chastity Gooch recorded her 12th double-double in 13 games with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and junior guard Bianca McGee chipped in 12 points.
Here are some postgame comments from Govan, Gooch and coach Michelle Clark-Heard:
MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD, coach
On Govan’s 40 points: “We didn’t have a very good practice at all. She’s always the one I can key on and know she’s going to show up every day. She struggled a little bit (Friday), and after practice, I challenged her to let her know she’s a big part of why we’re where we’re at.”
“She’s the emotional leader, she’s the one that talks. She does it all. I’m so proud of her. To be able to have a game like this, she did an incredible job.”
Getting fight from North Texas: “I told them every day in practice that it was going to be a battle. North Texas is a good team. I’m proud of our girls. We made some crazy turnovers at the end … but at the end of the day, when it was time to go to the free throw line and knock it down, we did.”
“You can’t just key on one or two players. That’s one of the things for us, stopping people from going to the basket or getting in the lane. I think they’ve got a chance to do really good. I’m actually dreading when we’ve got to go back and play them.”
More on Govan: “The biggest thing with Alexis right now is her confidence. She’s playing like the player she is and the player she was when I got here. Kudos to the last staff that could get Alexis Govan to come here to Western Kentucky because she’s a heck of a player. I’m excited that I’m going to get a chance to coach her for three years.”
Govan expanding her game: “She’s grown because she wants to be really good. She comes in every day and watches film. She does those things, and that’s what good players do. I always challenge her. I know she can go. She’s got one of the best first steps on any girl that I’ve seen. She can get to the basket, so I’ve challenged her to make sure she can shoot the pull-up jumper because people are going to stop guarding her. They’ll cut it off, and she’s become more patient in the game.”
“I’m really happy for her, that her game is continuing to grow, she’s seeing success and the team is seeing some success. That’s what she’s all about. It’s never about Alexis. She’s very much a team player.”
“Alexis Govan is very special, and she’s special because she can do a lot of different things. To be able to shoot the 3 with confidence, and then being able to get to the basket, shoot a pull-up and shoot very good from the free-throw line – when you can shoot that good from the field and make free throws, you’re going to put numbers up.”
“I had no idea that she had 40 because she plays so much within the game. We depend on her, but we also have Chastity Gooch, Bianca McGee. We have different people that can do different things. This is very much a huge team win.”
Being 4-0 in conference: “We have a tough swing here coming up. To be able to have that cushion is a big deal.”
ALEXIS GOVAN, sophomore guard
On her 40 points: “All the coaches challenged me (Friday), especially coach (Michelle Clark-Heard),” Govan said. “I didn’t have a good practice and I wasn’t a good leader. She challenged me to step up today. I just wanted to play some defense, and everything else just happened.”
“I just took what the defense gave me and did whatever. My teammates got me the ball, and I did what I could.”
Staying perfect in conference: “It was great. The goal was to get out of here 4-0, and that’s what we did. We knew there was a lot of history that could be made here tonight, but our main focus was staying undefeated in conference. That’s the big picture.”
CHASTITY GOOCH, sophomore forward
On Govan’s game: “Alexis had an amazing game. We kept giving her the ball, and she kept producing. Why not?”
Being 4-0 in conference: “It’s very important. We made a statement, I feel like. We’re still making one.”