Govan named preseason SBC Player of the Year; Lady Tops projected 2nd behind Arkansas-Little Rock

Western Kentucky junior guard Alexis Govan speaks to reporters Thursday at the team's media day. Govan was named the preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year today. (Joshua Lindsey/Daily News)

Western Kentucky junior guard Alexis Govan speaks to reporters Thursday at the team’s media day. Govan was named the preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year today. (Joshua Lindsey/Daily News)

Western Kentucky junior guard Alexis Govan has been named the preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, the league announced today.

Govan was one of three Lady Toppers honored by the conference coaches, and WKU was projected to finish second in the Sun Belt behind favorite Arkansas-Little Rock.

The Lady Tops received four first-place votes and finished three points behind UALR. Arkansas State was third.

Govan, who averaged 20.3 points per game as a sophomore, is WKU’s first preseason player of the year since Dominique Duck earned the nod in 2008-09.

“I am very excited about Alexis Govan being named the preseason player of the year in the conference,” coach Michelle Clark-Heard said in a statement. “She was really deserving of this honor after the season she had last year. All the hard work she has put in over the last year has really paid off in being recognized by the league coaches as the preseason player of the year.

“The improvement she has made in her game is impressive and she has separated herself from the pack as an elite player nationally, deserving of this and many more honors to come.”

In addition, Govan and junior forward Chastity Gooch were named to the all-conference first team, and senior guard Bianca McGee was named a third-team selection. The other first-team picks were UALR’s Taylor Ford and Taylor Gault, and Arkansas State’s Jane Morrill.

Gooch averaged 16.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore, finished second in the nation with 26 double-doubles and won the Sun Belt’s defensive player of the year award. McGee averaged 12.5 points last year in 24 games, including 20 starts.

The Lady Tops open their season at 7 p.m. today with a home exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan at E.A. Diddle Arena.

2013-14 Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll

(First-place votes)

1. Arkanasas-Little Rock (6) – 95 points

2. WKU (4) – 92 points

3. Arkansas State – 82 points

4. Troy – 52 points

t5. South Alabama – 46 points

t5. Louisiana-Monroe – 46 points

7. Louisiana-Lafayette – 43 points

8. Georgia State – 41 points

9. Texas State – 39 points

10. Texas Arlington – 14 points

Sun Belt Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference First Team

Taylor Ford (UALR, Sr., G)

Taylor Gault (UALR, Jr., G)

Chastity Gooch (WKU, Jr., F)

Alexis Govan (WKU, Jr., G/F)

Jane Morrill (Arkansas State, Sr., F)

Sun Belt Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Second Team

Ashley Ezeh (Texas State, Sr., C)

Joanna Harden (Troy, Sr., G)

Ronneka Robertson (South Alabama, Sr., F)

Ashleigh Simmons (UL-Monroe, Sr., F)

Keke Veal (UL-Lafayette, So., G)

Sun Belt Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Third Team

Ashley Beverly-Kelley (Troy, So., G)

Kendra Long (Georgia State, Sr., G)

Bianca McGee (WKU, Sr., G)

Jalen O’Bannon (Arkansas State, So., F)

Alexar Tugler (UL-Monroe, Sr., G)

Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year

Alexis Govan (WKU, Jr., G/F)

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