Lady Tops prep to host Texas Arlington; Govan not ready to return

Western Kentucky Lady Toppers guard Alexis Govan watches from the sidelines as her team warms up Jan. 8 before a home game against Georgia State at E.A. Diddle Arena. (Miranda Pederson/Daily News)

Western Kentucky Lady Toppers guard Alexis Govan watches from the sidelines as her team warms up Jan. 8 before a home game against Georgia State at E.A. Diddle Arena. (Miranda Pederson/Daily News)

Western Kentucky junior guard Alexis Govan is progressing – not regressing – but she’s still not ready to return from injury.

That was the word Tuesday from WKU after coach Michelle Clark-Heard met with the media to preview the Lady Toppers’ homestand, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Sun Belt Conference newcomer Texas Arlington.

Govan has missed WKU’s last seven games – all in conference play – with a stress fracture in her left tibia. The initial projection was that she might be able to return in late January, but her latest trip to the doctor showed her progress isn’t yet where it needs to be, according to WKU.

Govan is moving in the right direction, but the nature of her stress fracture injury make it difficult to predict a timetable for her return, according to WKU. It’ll remain more of a wait-and-see situation for now.

Govan has been in a walking boot and on crutches over the last few weeks to speed her recovery efforts. The 5-foot-10-inch guard from San Antonio was averaging 16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 steals over 11 games before her injury.

But the Lady Tops (13-5) have gone 5-2 in conference play without the league’s preseason player of the year, including three road wins. Govan’s absence has also led to elevated play from starters such as Chastity Gooch and Micah Jones, as well as the emergence of role players like Kendall Noble and Chanell Lockhart.

Here is what Michelle Clark-Heard had to say today:


Home for a couple of games: “Excited to be back at home. We’re looking forward to keep getting better, so we can get to the point that we can do the things we need to control our own destiny. We want to be in a position where we can put two 20-minute halves together. … We’ve got to keep molding so we can put 40 minutes together.”

Noble’s improved play: “I’m just happy for her. The injuries have plagued her. But she’s been able to show some of the fans. She was huge for us on the road. She’s a very talented player, very smart, and gives us the opportunity to put Micah at the shooting position and run her at the point sometimes.”

Did you expect Noble to be so versatile on the college level? “I always thought Kendall was a sleeping giant out there. I watched her a lot in high school. She can do a lot of different things. But you never know. You never know at this level when it’s going to happen, or how fast it’s going to happen. I’m just really excited it’s happening right now, and she’s feeling confident. Her teammates are confident in what she can do, and they’re all just working together. We’re pulling together as one.”

People stepping up with Govan out: “It’s been huge. It’s been a great team effort. Different people have stepped up at different times, and I think that’s what it’s all about. We’re just trying to grow as a team. We want to be playing the best basketball we can in February. We’ve found a way to win. Now we’ve got to put together two good games at home and take care of business.”

Texas Arlington being 1-17 overall, 0-7 in SBC: “Don’t look at 1-17 or that they haven’t won a game in the league, because they’re probably the best 1-17 team I’ve seen. Athletically, they get up and down the floor. They’re going to change up defenses on us, which sometimes is a struggle for us. They’ll give us a lot of different zone looks. … It’s going to be a challenge for us. There is no way that you look at anyone’s record and think there’s a situation where you can come out with a win without you playing. We’re not sleeping on them.”

Not taking UTA for granted: “There’s no complacency with us, because we can’t have complacency. There’s no room for error in this league. We’re tied right now with Georgia State, which has gone on a four-game winning streak. You’ve got to be prepared each day when you come out.”


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