We met with the Lady Toppers on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s home game against Southeast Missouri State.
WKU has a full week off for finals after logging a 59-53 win last Sunday at Kent State.
We talked about SEMO on Wednesday, as well as a couple of roster updates.
Freshman guard Kendall Noble is out for the rest of the season with a torn right ACL, coach Michelle Clark-Heard confirmed. For more on that, click here.
WKU will return the services of junior guard Bianca McGee, who was ineligible for the first semester because of an issue with course hours during her transfer from Kilgore College (Texas).
Here are some thoughts from Heard and freshmen Jalynn McClain and LeAsia Wright.
MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD, coach
On the break from playing: “Even though it’s finals week, we’re not playing and we’re not traveling. It’s been good for them mentally. To sleep in their own bed and have a break is a good deal.”
On team’s chemistry: “I really think this is really rare. I’m excited about it. We’ve been coaching for a long time, and we talk about how fortunate we are for that to be happening. When I first got here, after the first couple months, I saw how they were with each other and in the office with me. I started to tell the staff then that I thought we had something special.”
On Noble’s ACL tear: “Any coach doesn’t want to have to hear that about their players, and I’m just sad that the fans and everyone here didn’t get to see Kendall Noble this year. But the great thing is that I’ll have her for four more years, and we’ll get the opportunity for everyone to see how special she is.”
More on Noble: “She’s been through it before. When she went down in the game, she looked at me and basically said she had done it. When you go through it, you know it. She’s an unbelievable kid. Her faith is very strong, so I know she’ll be good through this whole process. She’ll be fine, and I think this will put her in a situation where once she gets through surgery and rehab, she’ll be a stronger player and person for it.”
On getting McGee back: “It’s definitely another body on the bench. Bianca brings a whole other level to our team. She has a scorer’s mentality. She’s a winner, so we’ll be adding someone that’s done great in practice. It won’t be like we’re throwing her out there and she hasn’t practiced. She’ll be ready to go, and we’re excited.”
On SEMO: “They’re a team that’s kind of scary because they have kids that can shoot the basketball. As coaches, those are things you always look at.
SEMO continued: “They’re going to press some and then sag off into man-to-man defense. When people sag off you, that makes you want to take quick shots, so we’re talking a lot about our shot selection. We’re going to focus on us.”
JALYNN McCLAIN, freshman forward
On the long break: “It’s been good. We’ve been focusing on finals, but practice today went well. We’re just getting ready for SEMO on Sunday.”
On team chemistry: “We’re very close. We do everything together.”
On Noble: “I just try to be there for her, motivate her. I sent her a text. We Snap Chat, so I tried to send her a funny face that I have to make her smile and get her mind off it. She’ll be fine.”
LeASIA WRIGHT, freshman guard
On break from playing: “We definitely needed it to rest our legs. We got our minds right.”
On what Lady Tops learned on the road: “Once we get a lead, I think we just cruise instead of putting it away. Once we get the lead, we’ve got to work to keep it.”
How has team been winning? “I think we’ve been playing with heart. We’ve been tough and been communicating. We play well together.”
What does McGee bring? “Defense, offense – she can do everything. She leads the team very well. She gets us motivated and brings good energy. She gets us going, so I think she’ll help us play harder.”