Lady Toppers prepare for No. 12 Louisville

WKU junior Chastity Gooch drives attempts a lay up during WKU’s 74-61 loss against #4 Louisville on Nov. 27, 2013 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Jonah Phillips

WKU women’s basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard learned several things from her team over the course of the 2014 Preseason WNIT tournament, which ended with an 88-77 defeat at the hands of Mississippi State in the championship match on Sunday.

She’s confident those elements will carry over into Tuesday night’s game at No. 12 Louisville.

“The biggest thing was our resilience—our never-give-up attitude,” Heard said. “After (Sunday’s) loss and talking to the staff and some of the players, we have things to work on but we are in a position where we have gotten better.”

WKU (3-1) will play in Louisville for the first time since the 2006-07 season when it played the Cardinals at Freedom Hall. Louisville has defeated WKU in the last three games, including a 74-61 decision last year in Diddle Arena.

Louisville leads the all-time series 25-18, even though WKU has won 11 of the last 16 meetings.

 “They are talented as usual,” Heard said of the Louisville women’s basketball program. “They are going to be doing a lot of things similar to the way we do. I think they are going to press, I think they’re going to get up and down the floor, I think they turn people over a ton, so we are going to have to take care of the basketball.”

The game will offer the trio of All-American candidate Chastity Gooch, senior Alexis Govan, and redshirt sophomore Kendall Noble, an opportunity to continue pacing the Lady Topper squad.

Together these three Lady Toppers scored 59 of WKU’s 77 points in its first loss of the season on Sunday.  Gooch claimed the C-USA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week award after averaging 21.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in the tournament.

“The concern at first was rebounding and some different things, but we really have been crashing the boards hard and doing a lot of different things” Heard said. “Those are going to be what we have to keep working on, the rebounding and defensive things.”

WKU is one of three universities in the state receiving votes in the NCAA AP poll, and the only one that does not currently rank in the top 25.  Kentucky leads that pack at No. 9 with Louisville at its heels at No. 12. WKU currently sits tied at No. 37 with UCLA, each receiving 4 votes.

“At the end of the day as coaches our job is to prepare them and get them ready,” Heard said. “Get them to understand that with this quick of a turn around, we have to leave Mississippi State behind and we need to move on a get ready to face Louisville.”

RELATED LINK: Lady Toppers can’t catch up to No. 4 Louisville in loss