Lady Toppers looking for more intensity, defensive execution on Louisiana road swing

The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team hits the road again this week, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Louisiana-Monroe.

The Lady Toppers (11-5 overall, 3-2 Sun Belt Conference) are coming off a 67-64 home loss Saturday to league-leading Arkansas State. We met with WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard and junior guard Chanell Lockhart on Monday to preview the Louisiana swing, which is capped by a game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Louisiana-Lafayette.

In Wednesday’s BGDN, you won’t find much specifically about ULM. Instead, I take a closer look at the junior-college transfer Lockhart, and how she’s changed as a person from a standout prep player on the south side of Chicago to a defensive specialist for WKU.

But we did talk plenty Monday about the Warhawks and the Arkansas State loss, so here are Heard and Lockhart’s comments:


Defense, rebounding: “That’s been the focus. Of course, after every game you get the chance to go back and watch film, and we were right there. We did a lot of different things that we tried to do, but we also gave up some crucial baskets at crucial times. We’ve been working on boxing out and other fundamental things we have to get better out. But the main thing was our intensity level. We didn’t come out of the locker room the way we did in the past few games.”

Where team is at right now: “All the games we’ve played the last four games have been really, really close. It’s always going to be us trying to get better. We’re still early in the season, but we have to keep getting better. They say you’re supposed to be playing your best basketball when it comes February and March. We’re right at the tail of January, so we’re trying to keep getting better so we can be better.”

Pointing out miscues on film: “I’ve been a player myself, and sometimes you don’t think you look the way you do when you see yourself on film, and then you go back and watch. I think that was an unbelievable teaching moment. We are big on watching film. We don’t watch a ton of it, but when we do, we want to make sure we get the point across, and I think that’s what we did (Sunday). I was pleased with our effort when we came back.”

On Louisiana-Monroe: “Athletic. They get up and down the floor. They’ll press us some. They’ve got three guards who are shooting the 3 very well, so we’re going to have to guard the 3. They have Simmons on the inside … and they have another big kid coming off the bench. We have to focus on what we can do and what we can control, and that’s our effort and the little things.”

Hitting the road: “We’ve been pretty good on the road. We’ve been able to go on the road and take care of business. It’s a mentality. The good teams figure out ways to win on the road.”


What team has been working on: “Just defense, doing the little things – boxing out, rebounding. That’s about it. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Did you all discuss Saturday’s loss? “Nothing to really discuss. Defensively, we had some breakdowns. We couldn’t get a stop at the end of the game, so it’s just playing defense in practice every day.”

How did Arkansas State win the boards by so much? “They were just being more aggressive, going to get the rebound.”


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