Lady Toppers talk about 84-67 win at Wright State

DAYTON, Ohio – The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team shot 54.5 percent from the field and recorded a season-high 20 assists Wednesday at Wright State, earning an 84-67 win over the Raiders in the Wright State Invitational at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio.

With the victory, the Lady Toppers (9-2) improved to 6-0 on the road this season and matched last year’s win total.

Sophomore forward Chastity Gooch finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds for WKU, while sophomore guard Alexis Govan added 20 points, eight rebounds and a career-high seven assists.

Junior guard Bianca McGee had 16 points in her second game as a Lady Topper, and freshman guard Micah Jones scored 15 points on five 3-pointers.

Kim Demmings paced Wright State (5-5) with 26 points.

The Lady Toppers advance to the championship of the Wright State Invitational, where they’ll face Florida A&M at 3:30 p.m. CST Friday.

Here are some postgame comments from Gooch, Govan, McGee and coach Michelle Clark-Heard.

MICHELLE CLARK-HARD

Opening thoughts: “That’s the best basketball we’ve played. I’m so proud of them, to be able to share the basketball and shoot 54 percent from the field.”

Wright State: “(Kim) Demmings is a big-time player. She came up to Western and scored on them last year, but we adjusted … and they all bought in. This was a huge win for us.”

What made offense click? “This group is really close, and I think they play that way on the floor and feed off of each other. When Bianca started to hit shots and Alexis started to hit, they all truly get happy for each other. That’s what sets us apart. These kids really want the best for their teammates.”

Addition of McGee: “When you have different people scoring and can have someone like Bianca coming off the bench, it’s a bonus for us. She played within the system. This was a good game for her, to get that second one under her belt and keep growing.”

Team not being satisfied: “It’s good to see they think more and more about that every day – about where we can go and where we’re trying to reach. That’s the part, as a coach, that you have to get excited about.”

“They’re starting to believe that it’s not just about winning one game. They want to keep winning, and that’s the mentality I want them to have.”

On Florida A&M: “They’re very similar to Troy to me. They’ve got kids that can get up and down the floor and score. They’re very athletic. We’re going to have to get back in transition and score. I think we’ll have a size advantage with Chastity and Jalynn, but we’re going to have to guard.”

Update on Kendall Noble’s knee surgery: “It went well. It was just her ACL and nothing else torn. I talked to her today, and I’m glad she got the surgery over with so she can move forward and get ready for rehab.”

ALEXIS GOVAN, sophomore guard

First thoughts: “We played for the full 40 minutes. Coach was preaching to us that we need to put two halves together, and we got out of here with the win.”

Why did team play so well? “We were confident in each other. We do a lot of extra shooting as a team, so we knew when we passed to someone, they were going to knock it down, and then we’d get back on defense.”

Addition of McGee: “It’s big. It takes a lot of pressure off Chastity and me, and also takes pressure of Micah and everybody else. It just gives teams someone else they have to guard.”

Being 9-2: “It’s really fun, but we’re not going to settle for matching last year. We’re going to exceed that.”

What to do against Florida A&M: “We want to put two halves together again. We hope we can come out and make shots and play confident.”

BIANCA McGEE, junior guard

Strong game: “We decided to come out and play like a team. Coach got on us a little bit in pregame, telling us to go hard, talk and play together. We paid attention to detail and acted like a team.”

How do you think you played? “It’s all about helping the team win. Whatever the team asks me to do, I’ll do it. It wasn’t about points. It was just about scoring when I got the opportunity and playing like a team. If the opportunity presented itself, of course I’ll put the ball in the bucket. Other than that, it was about getting the ‘W.'”

On not knowing much about A&M yet: “We have coach Collins, coach Richards and coach Mansfield as our assistant coaches, so I know they know exactly what’s going on.”

On not being satisfied: “We’re happy we won, but we didn’t win a championship. We have more games to win. It’s not like we weren’t expecting to win. We won this one, so good job for us. Now we have another one (today).”

CHASTITY GOOCH, sophomore forward

On Heard’s pregame speech: “We took that to heart. She was talking about how important this game was for us, so we did what we had to do.”

On her own game: “I started out a little slow. They double-teamed me and got a little frustrated, but after we came out, I took a deep breath and just played.”

On McGee: “I couldn’t wait for her to get out there and start playing with us.”

On being 9-2 after 9-21 season: “The bus rides home are a lot more fun. We can laugh and have a good time, and it feels great.”

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