Lady Toppers roll to dominant 92-63 victory over Louisiana-Monroe

The Western Kentucky women’s basketball team earned its third straight win by at least 26 points Saturday with a 92-63 victory over Louisiana-Monroe at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Lady Toppers (17-8 overall, 9-5 Sun Belt Conference) had five players in double figures scoring, led by junior forward Chastity Gooch’s 20 points. Senior guard Bianca McGee had 17 points, and junior guard Chanell Lockhart added nine points, 12 rebounds and three steals.

Here are postgame comments from WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard, Lockhart, Gooch and McGee, as well as ULM coach Mona Martin:

MICHELLE CLARK-HEARD

On big win: “I just didn’t know how we were going to respond from being off a whole week and coming back out. We had some OK practices – a good day here or there – so I was just really proud of our focus today and how we came out of the locker room. We didn’t start out well … but we started to pick it up. I could see the energy as they kept going.”

Lockhart’s play: “Chanell Lockhart has been playing her tail off in practice. I’m a firm believer in practicing hard, do the things I ask you, and you’ll get that opportunity. I wanted to reward Chanell for what she’d been doing. You saw what she did on the floor.”

What she told Lockhart at the end: “I told her to keep doing what she’s been doing, because she was a big reason that we got that big win today. Everything that she brought to the table for us in practice, that’s the energy, excitement and focus we have to have every day for us to be good.”

Scoring balance: “Anytime you can find different people to score in different ways, it’s a challenge for the other team. We’re playing pretty good. We’re moving the ball well, we’re getting people the open shot. People are taking the shots they get in practice, and that’s important. … I want them to have fun. The past three games, I hope people have seen that this team is growing, having fun and working hard.”

Limiting turnovers: “That was one thing last year that we did a lot. We turned it over a lot. The next big thing is making free throws. We struggled a little in the beginning of the season, but now I think we’ve got back focused on what we need to do.”

Alexis Govan’s energy on the bench: “Alexis is a big part of that, too. If you all watch the games, she’s more into it than me sometimes, and I know I can be very intense. She’s over there coaching and cheering them on, and she’s the same way in practice. She’s the same way in film sessions. I think the team knows this has been a tough time for Alexis. Alexis is one of the most competitive players that I’ve ever coached. I’m proud of our team because I’ve seen the whole team grow.”

Govan wearing out coaches’ ears on the bench with her screams: “That’s probably not good. I turn around and look sometimes because I think it might be somebody else that might be yelling. It’s pretty awesome to see, and I always make sure I talk to her after the games and before. She’s a special young lady, and not just her, but this whole group.”

BIANCA MCGEE

Another blowout win: “Extremely fun. Going out there and being able to get everybody involved and play together and make some buckets, get some stops, it’s very fun to do.”

Limiting turnovers: “Most of our turnovers lead to made baskets, so coach has been getting on us to take care of the ball and taking every possession to execute and get a bucket. It’s very good that we’re still starting to get it. I need to work on that a little more, but we’re getting it.”

CHANELL LOCKHART

Her breakout game: “It was really big, just going out and getting the win, helping my team.”

Scoring off defense: “It’s just much easier and fun when you’re just running. When you don’t have to run a play every possession, that makes it better.”

CHASTITY GOOCH

Keeping foot on the gas: “I felt like we did a lot better with coming out the second half and keeping the lead and getting stops off the penetration. I thought we did really well with that.”

Govan on the bench: “Alexis is doing a great job. We can hear her out there, talking to us, and she’s been positive throughout this whole ordeal. I’m proud of her, but I’m ready for her to get back out on the court with us.”

MONA MARTIN

WKU going up big early: “We came out a little flat, and then they made runs. They’re hitting tough shots, and we’re missing easy bunnies, layups and wide-open 3s. I commend her team. They have really, really improved. We should have beat them at home, and we were never really in the game here.”

More on game: “To me, you have to come out on this court with a lot of fight and toughness, and to me, we were out-toughed all night.”

How WKU has progressed: “At first, it was Gooch having to do a lot. The first night we played them, Noble was averaging like 3.5 points and she had 20. I think that was her turning point, because we were not expecting that from her. Now she’s playing at a different level, but I see her other guards playing at a different level. I think it says a lot for them that even their bench players are coming in and stepping up. I think when she does get her player back, they’re going to be really special.”

On Lady Tops: “I’ve said from the get-go I think they’re the best team in the conference, and I still think they are. This is a tough place to play. I think they have a great opportunity if they get Govan back.”

Parity in the conference: “It’s unbelievable. We’re real up and down, but really, all the teams have been up and down. … I feel like if you show up offensively, you have an opportunity to win, especially with the way they’re calling the game now. To me, it’s about being score-minded and being able to hit shots.”

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