I had a good chat this morning with former WKU star Crystal Kelly, who’s now an assistant coach at Bellarmine University and took a few minutes out of her busy day to talk about the Lady Tops.
I talked to Kelly, the Lady Tops’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder, about joining the All-Diddle Arena team, WKU’s turnaround and the heightened play of Chastity Gooch.
Bellarmine has a game Saturday afternoon, so Kelly won’t be able to make the All-Diddle ceremony during the Lady Tops’ game vs. Arkansas State.
Making All-Diddle Arena team: “I was talking to Dominique (Duck) about it, and I know her and her whole family are going to be there. And I was texting (men’s star and current Boston Celtic) Courtney (Lee) about it, totally forgetting that he was in season. It’s really neat that I played with and know some of those players.”
Players needing to know program’s history: “You have to know what it takes, and it takes so much hard work to get the program where it needs to be. Countless hours in the gym. It’s weird being outside of it and being older now, how much more you think you could have done when you were there. The girls have to know how important it is to everyone and the history that was there long before I got there.”
Have you been able to follow WKU much? “I’ve been dealing with us so much that I’ve been in my own Bellarmine bubble. I know they dropped a couple of games recently. The Middle game still burns even though I’m not there.”
Michelle Clark-Heard’s turnaround: “It sounds like she’s doing a great job. I haven’t met her, but I’ve heard great things about her, and that the girls really respect her. I’m happy for the university and the program. That’s where my heart is. Anytime they can be on the way to getting back to a conference title and the NCAA tournament, I’m happy.”
Chastity Gooch leading nation in double-doubles: “That’s extremely hard to do. When you’re a post player, you have to get the ball first, find a way to score and then take care of your rebounding. That’s focus and mentally preparing yourself that, ‘This is what I need to do every game.’ You can’t take nights off. For her to be that young, that sounds like she’s playing very mature.”