Postgame: Lady Tops react to 71-54 loss to MTSU in regular season finale

Here are postgame comments from WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard and sophomores Alexis Govan and Chastity Gooch after the Lady Tops’ 71-54 loss to Middle Tennessee in the regular season finale at E.A. Diddle Arena.

MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD, coach

Game plan against MTSU: “They hit 17 3s in the last game against Troy, so our main focus was to try to take the 3 away and make sure (Jones) didn’t get 30 on us again. I was really proud of our group in the first half. We had missed some offensive rebounds, but we were right in the ballgame. The things we wanted to do in the first half, we did.”

Kortni Jones’ play late: “She decided, ‘I’m not going to lose here at Western.’ This is a learning and growing opportunity. We put it all on the line, and the kids played hard.”

Govan’s play: “She was frustrated a little bit in the first half. But her assignment at first was to chase Kortni Jones. You give and take, and we’ll have to tweak some things. If we meet them again, we’ll be ready.”

Gooch getting in foul trouble: “It really hurt us, and I think it hurt the morale of the team a little bit. Her and Alexis, they’ve been the anchors for this team. I’ve still got a young group. She fouls Rowe under the basket, and she wasn’t even going to make that shot. Teaching moments.”

Do you think fans should walk away from this season pleased? “If people can’t see where we’re trying to take this program and the excitement level, I don’t know what else to do. The girls don’t know what else to do, because they laid it all on the line every day. We were in every game here at home.”

Closing up first regular season: “It’s emotional for me, to walk off that floor right now and know we didn’t do what we were supposed to do – what we wanted to do, which was take care of business in our last home game. It’s tough, but we’ll refocus, and we’ll be ready when it’s time for us to go to Hot Springs.”

Making adjustments for tourney: “We’ve got to take care of the basketball and work on some defensive things. I think the biggest thing is that our kids are hungry. I think their passion is ready to take three games and one game at a time to win a championship.”

People expecting more: “I’m super excited for this program and those young ladies, because with all that hard work they put in the beginning, now they’re in a position where people want more. People want to see them continue to grow.”

ALEXIS GOVAN, sophomore guard

Giving up offensive rebounds: “We talk about it every day in practice. We say we’ve got to box out on the defensive boards and we’ve got to get 50-50 balls. Today, we didn’t do that, and that’s a gamechanger.”

Having an off night offensively: “Honestly, in the first half, what they were doing worked. They let me get a little frustrated, but in the second half, I knew I couldn’t let Chastity and my teammates do it themselves. I missed a lot of shots, but I just tried to bring energy and play defense.”

Are you capable of beating MTSU in a third game? “We’re definitely capable. We’re a young team, and we’re in the best shape we’ve been in a long time. It’s not the physical body being tired, but mentally we have to push through. Coach is going to get us prepared, and mentally, we’ll be able to hold on that last five minutes.”

What do you hope fans take away from this season? “I hope they see that our motto ‘On the Rise’ is true. We’re working every day to get back to where this program was, and I hope they saw this season how hard we fight and how much energy we have.”

CHASTITY GOOCH, sophomore forward

Foul trouble: “It was very frustrating. My fourth foul was just kind out of frustration. It was a stupid foul.”

MTSU’s Ebony Rowe: “I worked hard posting up, and I was trying to not let Ebony get the ball. She can do a lot of moves, so it’s hard to determine what she’s about to do. Getting between her and the basket is about all you can do.”

Breaking double-double record: “It’s exciting. Coach Mansfield kept pushing me. I just kept playing, and it came to me.”

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