The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team made 12 3-pointers Saturday against South Alabama, snapping a five-game losing streak against the Jaguars with an 81-55 win at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Lady Toppers (16-8 overall, 8-5 Sun Belt Conference) hadn’t beaten South Alabama since Feb. 2, 2011. The made 12s for the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2003. The program record is 13.
Chastity Gooch led the way with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists in just 27 minutes, while Bianca McGee made five 3s for 17 points. Kendall Noble finished with 12 points, seven steals, five rebounds and five assists.
WKU is off until hosting Louisiana-Monroe at 2 p.m. Feb. 22.
Here are postgame comments from Noble, McGee and coach Michelle Clark-Heard:
Finally beating South Al: “You know that saying, ‘Get the monkey off your back?’ I’m just happy for the girls, just the way they came out of the locker room ready to play. I’m just very fortunate and blessed to get to coach such a great group. To be able to finally beat them – they’ve been a thorn in our side since I got here.”
Making 12s with a lot of assists: “We had 21 assists to 11 turnovers. Any coach will tell you that’s an unbelievable number, and it’s awesome. The biggest thing I was excited about was they were having fun. We put two back-to-back games together, where they were able to come out on the floor and play hard with energy and have fun.”
Lull to start second half: “It’s hard when you’re up 30, and you’re trying to get them out of the locker room still motivated and pumped. We went on that little stretch there for three, three and a half minutes, but then we came back and guarded and made some more shots. That’s what good teams do.”
McGee’s game: “She’s been really working in practice. Her shot hasn’t been falling the way it normally had. She’s been working. She’s been in the gym extra, she’s been shooting. She always says to me, ‘Coach, when it’s time to fall, it’s going to fall.’ She never got down on herself.”
More on McGee: “If you’re a shooter, and the first one falls for you or you get in that rhythm, that’s how Bianca plays. She took great shots tonight. There were a couple that were quick that I told her, but she took great shots within our offense. Everybody’s looking for her. That’s how you get 21 assists.”
Noble’s play: “They were telling me to get her out of the game, and I was wondering when was it going to be the right time, because she does so much for us, and it’s on both ends. She’s very smart and savvy. She knows the basketball game. She can pass it. She’s really a unique player because she’s very deceiving. She has great hands … and I think she kind of lulls you to sleep before she goes to get it. She’s been huge for us.”
Last two wins: “This team is growing up. To put these two games back-to-back – to play as well as we did at home – is showing us that they’re growing up.”
Getting Gooch some rest again: “We we don’t play this week until the weekend, so they’ll get a chance to get their legs up under them and get some rest. She’s been playing a ton of minutes, and she’s going to have to continue to play a ton, but it’s been great.”
On making 12 3s as a team: “It was real exciting. Women don’t have many people dunking, so 3-pointers is what gets the crowd excited for us. When we hit 12 of them, it was real fun. Fun to do, fun to see.”
Last two wins: “No one wants to lose, let alone three. Coming off a three-game losing streak, we just got in the gym, practiced hard and listened to what the coaches said. We executed defensively first and had fun on offense, and it worked out well for us.”
Beating South Al: “We owed them one. Chaney is the only person on the team who had beat them. We needed a win. They killed us at South Alabama. We had a really bad game, so we owed them a good beating like that.”
Making all the 3s: “It was real fun. It’s always fun when everybody is getting involved, and it’s always fun when you’re knocking down 3s, too. We were just passing the ball and getting open looks, and everybody was being pretty confident.”
13 steals in last two games: “I just try to be active, keep my hands up. I know I have long arms, and people throw me the ball pretty much sometimes. Getting steals and getting easy transition baskets for everybody helps everybody’s confidence.”