Lady Toppers rout KWC in first exhibition

Kyle Williams

The Lady Toppers kicked off the 2013-14 basketball season in Diddle Arena Tuesday night with an 87-49 blowout exhibition win against Kentucky Wesleyan.

WKU opened the game on a 10-0 run and held KWC to just three points in the first eight minutes. WKU shot 48.6 percent from the field while holding KWC to just 28 percent. The Lady Toppers also outscored KWC 50-16 in the paint.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard said every player did some positive things on the court, but despite the win, the Lady Toppers still need some fine-tuning before the regular season starts in November.

“The effort was there from everybody,” Heard said. “At times we looked a little scarce and not on the same page, but that’s how it happens. It’s the first exhibition game. I’m looking forward to going back and watching the film…figure out the things we need to work on to get better.”

All 12 Lady Toppers logged minutes in the exhibition and 11 of them got into the scoring column led by junior guard Alexis Govan and junior forward Chastity Gooch, who had 18 points apiece. Gooch also recorded 14 rebounds in just 25 minutes of action.

Sophomore Jalynn McClain chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior guard Chaney Means had eight assists, zero turnovers and four steals in the contest. The senior captain, who also drew four charges in just the first half, said it’s her job to bring energy so the team can feed off of her.

“These girls do their thing on the offensive and defensive end,” Means said. “I’m just kind of the energizer I guess.”

The Lady Toppers’ newcomers also had a strong showing in the exhibition matchup led by freshman center Ruta Savickaite and freshman forward Bria Gaines. Savickaite scored the first bucket for the Lady Toppers and finished with five points while Gaines recorded six in just nine minutes of play.

Heard said the new additions to the Lady Topper program had some positive moments that will assist them moving forward.

“At times the newcomers did some good things,” Heard said. “That was good for us to see because now we just have to keep getting better…we’re looking forward to moving on.”    

Although WKU forced KWC to turn the ball over 25 times, the Lady Toppers coughed up the ball 18 times on their own. Heard said that’s something the team needs to work on before the regular season.

“Our goal was 12 for tonight, so we didn’t meet that goal,” Heard said. “At the end of the day we’ve just got to keep going back and breaking things down so we can make sure every player understands their personnel.”