The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team got everyone involved Sunday, routing Jackson State 83-48 at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Freshman center Bria Gaines led WKU with 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, and junior guard Alexis Govan had 13 points. Junior forward Chastity Gooch recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Twelve players scored for WKU, which next heads to Puerto Rico, where it first plays Belmont on Friday.
Here are postgame comments from Gaines, redshirt freshman guard Kendall Noble, senior guard Chaney Means and WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard:
Getting blowout win: “I was very happy with the way we started out. Just to have the opportunity to jump on a team and work on some different things, I was proud of the team for going through the game plan and working on some things we hadn’t done before. I thought this was a great opportunity for us to try those things.”
Playing different combinations: “It’s one of the things I’m really excited we got a chance to do. Some of the ones who might not get to play a big amount of minutes had the opportunity to play some today. We get to get them in game situations and still be able to teach them, instead of just practice.”
Making the extra pass: “We’ve been working on that a lot. Inserting Bianca into the lineup, you have two of the really good 3-point shooters with her and Micah. Reversing the basketball and getting it to the open person, that comes with us keeping everybody playing together and practice and timing. I was really pleased with how unselfish the team was.”
Play of Bria Gaines: “She needed a breakout game like this. She’s been doing really good in practice and having spurts. She did really well, and I started her at Ball State, and she didn’t play that well. She got quick fouls, so I’m excited for her because you see the potential. Her confidence – you could see it as the game started to go. She was running a little faster and catching passes and being aggressive. I’m excited about this break so we can keep working with her individually.”
Starting Bianca McGee: “Bianca was playing really well off the bench, but there have also been times that we struggled to get off to a good start. Right now, this is kind of the plan we’re going to go with. I think it’ll give us an opportunity to have some consistency with her on the floor, because she does have the ability to score in bunches.”
McClain hitting head in first half, not returning to bench: “They’re concerned that she could possibly have a concussion, so we’re just trying to make sure that she’s going to be OK. I’m hoping everything’s OK.”
Needing game like this: “We’ve had some close games, and Ball State, of course was kind of a letdown for us. I think having a game like this going into our Puerto Rico tournament was really good.”
What did you all work on over finals week? “Just trying to get better every day and work on what we need to do to get better. We had some things we needed to work through as a team, and I think we’re getting better and learning how to mesh as a team.”
Making all three 3-pointers: “I’ve been struggling. Pretty frustrated, so to have one go in early, I think that gave me the confidence to keep shooting. They gave me the ball in that spot, and I kept on making it.”
Today’s game: “In practice, I’ve been working really hard on my defense. Just trying to be able to be out there and help Chastity and Jalynn out in the post. Today was one of those days.”
Confidence Heard gave her by starting her at Ball State: “She gave me a lot. But after coming out with two early fouls, I still stayed in the game, I cheered my teammates on. I never got down.”
Making the extra pass: “We’re always trying to get a better look. The extra pass usually is wide open to your teammate. We were just trying to get the extra pass – maybe, sometimes, one too many because we had a few turnovers. But we did get a lot of assists today.”