All-America honors make Govan, Gooch reflect on WKU

Senior Lady Topper basketball players (from left) Chastity Gooch (30), Alexis Govan (21) and Ileana Johnson (24) walk off the court after losing to University of Texas, 64-66, during the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament at Haas Pavilion in Berkley, California, Friday, March 20, 2015. Jeffery Brown/HERALD

Evan Depasco

The Lady Topper basketball team is coming off one of its best seasons in history. The program won 30 games, took home the Conference USA Championship (its second straight conference title) and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament. 

The team was led in its inaugural C-USA campaign by seniors Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan, who are still managing to grab headlines after the season’s conclusion in April. 

The duo combined for 1,158 of the team’s 2,647 points (43.75 percent) on the way to being named Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association Division I All-America Honorable Mention selections.  

Gooch was named the C-USA Player of the Year after averaging 17.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Govan garnered the conference tournament MVP honors after tabbing 22 points and seven rebounds in the championship game against Southern Miss. Both earned First Team All-Conference USA honors.  

The two will go down together as one of the best duos in program history, and individually as two of the best players

Govan described everything that happened this season as both unbelievable and unforgettable.

“A great way to end my career on the Hill,” Govan added. “It was something special and a season that I will never forget.”  

Gooch and Govan became the 14th and 15th players in program history ever to be given WBCA All-America honors when it was announced on April 4. The last time two WKU players on the same team earned this mention was in 1986-87 when Clemette Haskins and Tandreia Green received nods.  

“It was unexpected to receive the award. It could have been anyone of us on the team,” Govan said. “You could see with our record that we had people who could step in any night and play at an All-American level.” 

The standout senior had to sit out the majority of last year due to a stress fracture in her left tibia. Govan only played in 11 games due to the injury. The injury forced her to miss the Sun Belt Tournament (which her team went on to clench) and the program’s first visit to the NCAA Tournament since 2007-08. 

During this season’s C-USA Tournament, Govan sunk four free throws in the last minute of the championship game to lead the Lady Toppers to a 60-57 win.

Though, unlike last season’s NCAA tournament trip against Baylor, Govan was healthy and available for minutes.  

“I was nervous on the bus ride over, but felt better once I got in the locker room and saw how calm and collected my teammates were,” Govan said. “I just remember how special and great of an opportunity it was and ready to get on the court with my teammates.”

WKU fell to sixth seeded Texas 66-64. Govan and Gooch combined for 45 of the team’s 64 total points (70.31 percent) in the game. 

According to the two senior leaders, the biggest voice on the court this year came from Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard. 

“She’s a really good motivator,” Gooch said. “She knows how to talk to certain people and get the best out of them.” 

Clark-Heard was named one of the 2015 United States Marine Corps/WBCA NCAA Division I Regional Coaches of the Year— one of eight coaches to receive the award. She also was named a finalist for the 2015 Pat Summit Trophy. 

“Coach helped me out a lot with my confidence,” Govan said. “Coach Heard makes you believe in yourself and that you are capable of doing whatever is asked.”  

Both players are interested in taking their talents to the professional level, whether it be in the WNBA or overseas.