Lady Tops begin preparations for 2014-2015

The Lady Toppers recuperate in their locker room after their 87-74 loss to Baylor during the first round of the 2014 NCAA Divison I Women’s Basketball Championship at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas on Saturday. (Jeff Brown/HERALD)

Jonah Phillips

The WKU women’s basketball team held its first practice of its inaugural Conference USA season Sunday. 

While the season opener isn’t until Nov. 14 against Central Arkansas, Head Coach Michelle Clark-Heard knows her team has a lot of work to do before the season begins.

“We have a long way to go, I’m just glad to get the first one under our belt. I think we did some good things today,” Heard said. “But we just have to get better taking care of the basketball and doing things we need to do to compete.”


Sunday marked the first time Heard got to test the chemistry of her new squad that features three seniors, two juniors, three sophomores, a redshirt sophomore, three freshmen and one redshirt freshman. 

“They have done pretty well. Ivy (Brown) has done a great job, and stepped in, and played very well. Tasia Brown is not here today because she had a death in the family, but she has been playing really, really well,” Heard said.

For the newcomers, the areas that need improvement were evident after the first practice.

“Right now we definitely need to get in game shape. We struggle a lot with that,” freshman forward Ivy Brown said. “Other than that, chemistry – just working on getting everybody on the same page.”

With practices now in session, both the coaching staff and the players know chemistry is the most important thing to work on while the team is in its youngest state.

“We just have to continue with our chemistry,” Heard said. “When you add players that can realistically come in and help, you have to figure out how you are going to mesh everyone together, and how to continue to get better as a whole.”

For the veteran players, this is not just a new team, or a new season – it’s also a new conference. With the new conference comes new expectations for the student-athletes.

“From day one we walked out of the locker room, and we set the expectations very high for ourselves,” Heard said. “With what we have been able to accomplish the past few years, our intentions are always to be the best we can be, so as a staff we have to do what we need to do to prepare our team.”

The veteran players have adopted these heightened expectations and relish the chance to lead.

“It is a big deal. We had a meeting today before practice started, and we were just talking about how for some of us it will be the last time we get to do this,” senior guard Alexis Govan said. “It’s just really exciting.”