A very happy Michelle Clark-Heard met with the media Wednesday to discuss Saturday’s home game against Murray State and the four-player 2014 signing class announced earlier in the day.
You can find more about the specifics of WKU’s signing class, ranked 73rd in the nation by All Star Girls Report, in this earlier post.
Meanwhile, here are Heard’s comments about preparing for Murray State and the Lady Tops’ latest signees. She also confirmed that redshirt freshman guard Kendall Noble, who’s been out since early October with a stress reaction in her leg, is scheduled to return to practice today. If all goes well, the plan is for Noble to dress against Murray State, Heard said.
Preparing since Vanderbilt loss: “We’ve been watching a lot of film. They were off (Tuesday), so we’ve been watching film and getting ready. We’re working on a lot of different things – defensive transition, guarding the 3. Murray State’s going to come in and shoot a lot of 3s and get up and down the floor, so we’re going to work on a lot of those things. The biggest thing is getting our mentality right … and pointing out some of the things we need to work on.”
What did Vandy game expose? “We’ve got to get better defensively. We’ve got to work on those things and make sure we’re taking care of the ball in crucial situations, and getting good shots so we can make shots in crucial situations.”
Did players force shots vs. Vandy? “There were some forced shots. I think we got a little tight when we started missing a couple shots, but I try to give our players the green light. We work on those shots, and we talk about we want to play uptempo with that style of basketball. You’ve got to give your players the freedom to do those things. Time and score, is what we talk a lot about. We took a few rushed shots at Vandy, and some just because we were pressing, I think.”
Did offensive woes spill into defense? “I think it all ties in together. We’ve got to make sure we get back and match up and do the things we’re supposed to in transition. Then, if we can get a stop, that definitely leads to us going on the other end and being able to get something on the offensive end.”
Murray compared to last year: “We went there and had a battle. We were up about 18 to 20 points and ended up winning by 10. They get up and down the floor, they’re going to press us. They shoot really fast, so we’re going to have to rebound.”
On 2014 signee Shalika Smith from Glasgow: “I just love her tenacity and her toughness. Being a former post player myself, when I first saw Shalika, that was one of the first things I noticed. She just plays so hard all the time. She’s not afraid to bang, and that’s what we need. We need to add some depth to our post positions.”
Signing local players: “It’s definitely a huge value. That was one of the reasons that we went so hard after Ivy. Ivy was our No. 1 recruit from day one, and we were so excited that it all worked out … that everyone trusted in the program and where we’re going. I know she’ll bring a lot of fans from LaRue County. To be able to pack the stands, it’s always great to have Kentucky kids and local kids, because that’s something we’ve thrived on here at Western Kentucky.”
Beating out Kentucky, MTSU, others for Ivy Brown: “I think it’s big for our staff, just coming in, with one year under our belt. You see the schools that she was recruited by. That list got narrowed down because Ivy had decided early she wasn’t going to go too far from home. But there were major Division I schools after her, and we’re very excited because of the things she can do.”