Instead of another flat performance, the Western Kentucky women’s basketball team just plain flattened Troy on Wednesday night.
The Lady Toppers (15-8 overall, 7-5 Sun Belt Conference) had five players score in double figures, snapping a three-game losing streak with a convincing 93-66 win at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Redshirt freshman guard Kendall Noble paved the way with 26 points, eight rebounds, six steals and five assists.
Junior forward Chastity Gooch had 22 points and nine rebounds, and sophomore guard Micah Jones added 17 points and six assists with no turnovers. Sophomore forward Jalynn McClain (10 points, eight rebounds) and senior guard Bianca McGee (10 points) also hit double figures.
Here are postgame comments from Noble, Jones and coach Michelle Clark-Heard:
On snapping losing streak: “We played with a lot of energy. Talked to them before we left the locker room about just playing hard and having fun, and I think that’s what we did. I’m proud of the first five that stepped on the floor, because I talked to them about setting the tone.”
Improved rebounding: “I was really proud of this group. We’ve been on them since we got off the road trip, and I think the biggest thing that stuck out to us as a staff at halftime was rebounding – offensive rebounds and going to the boards.”
Defending Troy’s Joanna Harden: “Harden, she’s not fourth in the country in scoring for no reason. I was proud of our girls because she only had two free throws in the first half. There toward the end she started scoring, but we were up 20 points. I’m proud we followed the game plan we needed to, which was making sure Harden didn’t come out of the gate and get some points early.”
Importance of win like this after three losses: “It’s important for the team. They never faltered. This is a resilient group. I love coaching them. I’m always on them and challenging them, but a day like today, I’m super happy for them since they came in and let the game come to them.”
Gooch setting tone early: “Chastity is a joy to coach because she’s very coachable. You can talk to her about anything, and she’ll try her best to do whatever. I’m happy for her that she did what she did, and she only played 24 minutes. And that’s important.”
Needing a big win: “I think we needed it really bad. We came out and had a lot of energy. At Little Rock, we were completely dead and didn’t play hard at all. A game like this boosts our confidence, gives us energy, and it should help us get through the rest of the season.”
Coming out flat last few games: “It’s disappointing because we had three losses that we could have fixed easily just by having energy, rebounding and playing hard. I’m glad we figured it out. We know what it takes to win now.”
Shutting down Harden in first half: “That was our focus. She kind of runs their team. If you stop her, they look to other players. Not that they can’t step up, but she’s kind of their go-to, and I feel like that’s why they couldn’t get going in the first half.”
Improved rebounding: “That’s what happen when you rebound. You win big. That’s what we were lacking on the road, and that’s why we got beat. I’m glad we stepped up tonight.”