The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team flipped the script on Arkansas-Little Rock on Wednesday night, using stifling defense to top the Trojans 65-39 at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The 39 points allowed by the Lady Tops (11-4 overall, 3-1 Sun Belt Conference) were their fewest surrendered since the 1997-98 season. The 15 points they gave up in the first half were their fewest allowed in a half this season.
WKU also knocked down 8 of 13 3-pointers. UALR entered third in the nation in 3-point defense.
Here are postgame comments from WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard, senior guard Chaney Means, sophomore guard Micah Jones and UALR coach Joe Foley.
Opening thoughts: “Every game and every day seems to amaze me with this team. Different people step up. They grow, and it’s just such a fun group to coach. Different people did different things at different times. Chaney Means was huge for us when she came in and hit those 3s, and the momentum started to go.”
More from opening: “The biggest thing I’m proud of us is our defense. We changed up and did some different things. We started out in the zone, and I don’t think they were ready for that. The game plan was to do it for a couple possessions and see what we could get out of it, but this morning in shootaround, the kids were really confident in running it.”
Getting hustle plays: “The players didn’t forget the last time we played Little Rock. We didn’t have our best game. Even though it was last year, any time we show up, we want to keep competing.”
Govan’s role on bench: “Although Alexis isn’t out on the floor with them, every day at practice she’s like another coach. She’s talking to them, she’s cheering for them, she’s in their ear. … She is instrumental in this part, even though she’s not on the court playing with us. She’s doing a lot behind the scenes.”
Making 3-pointers: “When they start to fall and you feel it, what I try to do is make sure I give each one of the players that’s one the floor the green light to shoot the shots they’re comfortable with.”
Thoughts on win: “Our focus has really been on defense. We’ve been working the ball around really good, I think, getting people the ball who are open. This is a huge win, especially from the Sun Belt Conference Tournament last year and how they did us, I guess.”
Making 3-pointers: “Micah got me the ball a few times. It looks a lot bigger when you’re wide open. I feel like I shoot pretty good in that corner, especially in Diddle. They started falling tonight. It’s been up and down for this year with shooting, so it’s nice to have a few fall.”
Getting through UALR’s defense: “That’s what they’re known for – their tough man-to-man defense. They’re not going to do anything different and just do their thing. We knew coming in we just had to find the open person, and everybody knew that was our game plan. I thought we did a good job finding those people.”
Getting hustle plays: “We came in with a chip on our shoulder. We’ve been working on defense all week, and coach stressed that hustle was going to win this game. That comes down to loose balls, getting those, getting rebounds, and I thought we did a good job tonight.”
Arkansas State on Saturday: “It was a big win tonight, but we’ve got to come tomorrow and start preparing. I know our coaches already have a game plan, and we’re just going to follow that against Arkansas State.”
Thoughts on loss: “We didn’t play with a lot of smarts. We turned the ball over there nine times very quick and let them get in a flow, and we couldn’t ever get it back. We played a lot of kids that are freshmen and sophomores that probably aren’t ready for this environment right now, and it snowballed on us a little bit.”
WKU making 3s: “We got our heads down a little bit because we didn’t score very well, and didn’t play good on the defensive end. They got rolling. They’re a good enough team to take advantage of that, so they did a good job of hitting shots.”