Lady Toppers preview Wednesday’s Education Game against Georgia State

The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team returns home at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday for its third Spread the Red Education Game against Georgia State.

About 2,000 grade school students will in attendance for WKU’s first home conference game. The Lady Toppers are playing their third game without junior guard Alexis Govan, who’s likely out until the end of the month with a stress fracture in her left tibia.

We met with the Lady Tops today to preview the game. Here are comments from coach Michelle Clark-Heard, sophomore guard Micah Jones and junior guard Chanell Lockhart:

MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD

Wednesday’s game: “We’re going to have a battle on our hands. Georgia State is a really good team, but I’m excited to get back home. I feel like we’ve been on the road for a long, long time.”

Who will step up in Govan’s absence? “It’s going to depend on the opponent and how you play. That’s what you work for. You’ve got to scout, you’ve got to be prepared and you’ve got to prepare your players. Everybody has to be ready when their number’s called.”

Several players stepping up: “We had four kids that had career highs at Troy. Different people step up at different times. We’re trying to get to what any coach would ask for – for everyone to prepare for the players on your team and not know who’s going to be the X-factor each game.”

More on people filling Govan’s role: “It’ll be huge for everyone, and we’re looking across the board. When we were in Puerto Rico, we had Bria and Ruta step up. Micah Jones really set the tone for us. She knocked down four 3s in the first half. You have so many people you have to guard, and as a coach, that’s what you’re hoping for.”

Education Game: “I really am excited. This will be my first experience with it, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I think our kids are excited. It’s always great when you can have kids and fans in this special place.”

On Georgia State: “They’ve got some really good guards who can put it on the floor and shoot it. … Just like every other opponent, they have players who can do a lot of different things. I think the biggest thing is dribble penetration. They’ve got kids who can shoot the 3, too, but getting to the basket – we’ll have to follow our game plan.”

MICAH JONES

Last few games: “The last couple games, we’ve just been coming together as a team, because we’re down a player. People are stepping up. We’re putting the pieces together.”

Govan being out: “It’s just a chance for everyone to step up – different players to step up and show what they have. The more we improve now, it’ll pay off when she does come back.”

Filling her production: “It’s not going to come from one person. We’ve just been focusing on defense and getting stops, not necessarily filling her 16 points per game. We’re working on get stops on the defensive end, and the offensive end will work itself out.”

Education Game: “It’ll have a lot of energy in here, and it’ll be a different type of energy. We haven’t had that many kids in here this year, so I think it’ll be fun to play in front of them.”

Scoring 20 vs. Troy: “It was good. It got my confidence up, and it was a big deal for me that the whole time I was in a slump, my coaches and teammates never gave up on me. They told me to keep shooting.”

CHANELL LOCKHART

Replacing Govan: “Nobody’s trying to make up for her points individually. Everybody’s stepping up on the defensive end to stop them from scoring points, so we won’t have to get out of our comfort zone to score more points.”

What time is focusing on: “Every drill in practice is defense, defense, defense.”

What she’s expecting with Education Game: “I just heard they’ll be screaming for no reason. You don’t even know what they’re screaming for.”

Playing time up for grabs: “That motivates you a lot, just knowing you have a chance. Anybody on any given day – when your number’s called, you have to be ready.”

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