WKU’s Govan returning to doctor Monday; Lady Toppers host ULM

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 women’s basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard told reporters at today’s media availability that injured junior guard Alexis Govan will return to the doctor Monday to evaluate the progress of the stress fracture in her left tibia.

“We’ll get another update on Monday,” Heard said. “We’ll get another update and kind of go from there. As we find out, you’ll find out. I think that’s kind of where we’re at. I’m looking forward to getting some news and hoping for the best for her.”

Govan has missed WKU’s last 13 games – all in conference play – with the injury. The initial projection was that she might be able to return in late January, but a trip to the doctor at the end of last month showed her progress wasn’t yet where it needed to be.

The hope is still that Govan can return before the Lady Toppers enter the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, Heard said. They have five regular-season games remaining, starting at 2 p.m. Saturday at home against Louisiana-Monroe.

“That’s the hope right now,” Heard said. “If anything changes, that’s something we would possibly find out Monday, going forward from there to see if there’s anything different. The plan is we’re going to be able to get her back on the court and get some minutes here hopefully coming up real soon, before the regular season ends and we go into tournament.”

Govan recently shed the crutches she’d been using since the injury but was still in a walking boot at last weekend’s win over South Alabama. 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.

Here is everything else Heard and junior forward Chastity Gooch had to say about hosting ULM on Saturday:

MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD

Preparing after off week: “I think we’re in a good place. Of course, last week was a great week for us, and we were playing some really good basketball. As a head coach, I kind of went into this week knowing it’s great when you can get your players some rest, but we were playing pretty good. I’m just hoping we come out and have that same intensity and same fire we had.”

Off week: “They really definitely needed a break. I think it was good for them mentally, if anything else, because basketball is a long season. … But we’ve still got to keep getting better and have a long way to go.”

On ULM: “They’re a scary team. Their record, I think, doesn’t indicate how well they can score and put up numbers. The post player, Simmons, is really good and can put it on the floor and score. She plays really hard. … They have a ton of players who can score in a variety of ways, and they’re going to press. We have to make sure we can handle the press and that we go back to playing our game, which is getting good shots, getting back in defensive transition and trying to get the ball up the floor.”

Secret being out on Kendall Noble: “She does so many different things. We don’t change anything. I think she has to keep being aggressive. That’s what I’m talking to her about. She can pass, she defensively gets her hands on a lot of balls, but we need her to score, too. Kendall has a very laid-back personality, and we have to make sure when she’s on the court, she has another personality.”

Keeping players fresh, not hitting wall: “Last year, it was new to them. Young team, they hadn’t experienced the things we went through. But every month, I think you grow and learn a little bit more. I think that’s where we’re at right now. We don’t talk about hitting the ball. We talk about how there’s a lot of people who wish they had the opportunity to be where we’re at. We talk to them about not taking things for granted.”

CHASTITY GOOCH

How team is feeling: “We’re feeling very well-rested. Coach gave us two days off. Our legs are rested, and (athletic trainer) Katie (Murphy) got us in treatment.”

Getting breaks over last couple weeks: “Some of us that were playing 30 to 40 minutes needed that break. It was very important.”

Watching some from the sideline: “Sometimes I wish I could be out there, but most of the time, it felt great just to sit on the side. I knew I could go in the game and play my hardest, and coach told me she was going to start giving me more breaks during the game.”

On ULM: “From watching film, they penetrated on us a lot and got a lot of transition baskets. We’re going to focus on defense and closing gaps.”

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