Lady Tops prepare for season opener against Austin Peay

The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team opens its season at 2 p.m. Saturday against Austin Peay. The Lady Govs are coached by Carrie Daniels, who was an assistant with WKU for seven seasons.

We met with WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard and senior guard Chaney Means today to preview Saturday’s game. Here are their comments:

MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD

On Austin Peay: “They have some returners coming back, and Carrie does a great job – coach Daniels, down there. I think they’re going to look to come in and get up some 3s and take it at us a little bit. I don’t think they’ll press us, but we’ll be ready for what we need to. We’ll see some zone. They want to have a chance to come in here and get that first game under their belt, just like us.”

Starting at home: “It’s awesome. I’m super-excited for the teams and the fans, because we started on the road last year. We got a chance to go to Murray and get that win, so hopefully we’ll have a chance to play in front of the home crowd, do some good things and get a ‘W.'”

Are the players ready? “I think the exhibition games helped us correct some of the things we needed to work on. We’ve been working on those things. I’m looking forward to them getting a chance to play a real game in front of everybody and add some of the things we’ve been trying to do.”

Quickly turning around to play Vanderbilt: “We’ve been watching Austin Peay, and of course, we’ve been watching Vanderbilt, too, because we leave on Sunday to play them Monday. It’s going to be a quick turnaround for us, but what I am excited about is I know the returners remember the game last year. … We’re going to go into a whole other atmosphere down there in Vanderbilt.”

Injury updates on Harris, Noble: “Aleeya is in and out of the boot at times, but it’s a process. I don’t know as far as – maybe two weeks or so, a little longer out. Kendall’s in the same boat. I’m hoping to at least be able to get Kendall in a jersey and on the bench with some possible minutes in the Murray State game.”

CHANEY MEANS

Getting started: “It’s a lot of excitement. We’re ready, and I thought we had two good exhibition games, put up a lot of points. Our main focus has been defense in practice, so we’re still working on that. I definitely respect Austin Peay as a team, so we’re ready to play.”

What do you expect from Austin Peay? “We’ve been working a lot on their sets. They like to shoot the 3 and drive and shoot, so we have to defend the 3 and play our game, mostly.”

How important are wins to build early confidence? “Your goal is to win every game you go out and play, and that’s what we’re aiming to do. But we’re doing what we need to do to get ready for March. Everything leads to March. If you have to take some losses to get there, it’s the end result that really matters.”

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