Lady Toppers dominate three-game home stand

WKU junior guard Chanell Lockhart (4) rebounds the ball on the defensive side during the first half of the women’s basketball game against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday in Diddle Arena. (Kreable Young/HERALD)

Kyle Williams

The Lady Toppers trounced Louisiana-Monroe 92-63 on Saturday afternoon to solidify their third-straight blowout win. Only four games remain on the regular-season schedule.

WKU (17-8, 9-5 Sun Belt Conference) has four players averaging at least 12.3 points per game over their current three-game hot streak, which is a direct result of WKU’s crisp ball movement, according to Coach Michelle Clark-Heard.

“Anytime that you can find different people to score in different ways, it’s a challenge for the other team,” Clark-Heard said. “People are taking the open shots that they take in practice, and that’s important…I want them to have fun.”

It’s safe to say WKU had fun during its recent three-game home stand, as the Lady Toppers clobbered Troy, South Alabama and ULM by an average of 27.3 points per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.

Many of WKU’s open shots have derived from its keen defensive awareness.

The Lady Toppers forced their last three opponents into roughly 20 turnovers per game and scored an average of 29 points off those turnovers.

The Lady Toppers have also taken care of the ball exceptionally well on the other end of the court, averaging just 12.3 turnovers per game in their last three, which is 3.3 less than their season average. 

Senior guard Bianca McGee said execution has been a topic of discussion during recent practices in an effort to limit turnovers.

“Most of the time, turnovers lead to made baskets,” McGee said. “So Coach has been getting on us about taking care of the ball and taking every possession and trying to execute and get a bucket.”

The Lady Toppers’ recent success comes without junior guard Alexis Govan, who has missed all 14 league games with a stress fracture in her left tibia after being named Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year.

Despite her absence on the court, Govan makes her supportive voice heard from the sidelines, according to junior forward Chastity Gooch.

“She’s doing a great job,” Gooch said. “We can hear her out there talking to us. 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.”

Even without Govan, the Lady Toppers are tied for second place in the Sun Belt standings with four games remaining in the regular season.

Clark-Heard said she’s pleased with the way her team has developed over the course of the year, but with three of the final four games on the road, the task at hand is staying locked in.

“It’s just an awesome opportunity, as a coach, to sit back and watch a team grow and watch them get better and better every day,” she said. “Now the challenge is just to continue to keep getting them focused and ready and take it one game a time.”

WKU will look to extend its three-game win streak in San Marcos, Texas on Wednesday against Texas State.