Michelle Clark-Heard previews road game at South Alabama

We met briefly today with Western Kentucky women’s basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard before the Lady Tops take off for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. road game at South Alabama.

Here are a few thoughts from Heard:

MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD, coach

What have you seen from South Alabama? “They shoot a lot of 3s. We’re going to have to be able to guard. At first, during the season, we did that really well, but we’ve struggled some lately. They’ve got some kids that can shoot it and shoot it from deep. They’re a senior-oriented team, but we’ll have to go on the road and take care of the ball and guard.”

What do they do defensively? “They press some, and they cause a lot of havoc. Their pressure sometimes will get to you.”

Do you feel the need to keep team’s focus on South Al and not Sunday’s game at MTSU? “(Losing at) Arkansas State was a big deal for us. I think we had an eye-opener. I haven’t even mentioned Middle. I know they know the schedule, but we’ve got business to take care of with South Al. Our biggest goal is to get another win and get to 9-1, and when we get on the plane to come back, we’ll be ready to discuss Middle. They already know the stakes. I’m fortunate that I’ve got a young group, but they’re very grounded.”

How are Govan, Gooch and McGee co-existing so well? “It goes back to chemistry. They’re very, very close off the floor. They cut up and have fun, and I think that says a lot when they get on the floor. They don’t take anything personally. If one of them gets on the other or they tell them they made a bad pass or aren’t going hard, they just decide they need to pick it up.”

Improvement on free throws: “We put a huge emphasis on it when we got here. It was the first thing we talked about. In order to win games, you’re going to have to make free throws.”

Infamous free-throw drill in practice, which involves running for misses: “It’s a pressure situation, just like it is in a game.”

Did you feel that it had to get better? “You see that we were second to the bottom. I’m not saying there wasn’t focus on it, but sometimes you have to give more attention to certain details. That was one we picked out because of how important it is. With our size and numbers, when we go to the free-throw line, we have to make them.”

What still needs improvement? “This is a defensive-oriented team. I want it to be. I want us to get better at playing just straight man-to-man. A lot of times, we’ve switched up defenses, so that and rebounding, and I think we’re getting better.”

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