Super Sophomore: Gooch breaks assistant coach’s double-double record

Tyler Lashbrook

A notable school record fell in WKU’s final home game Saturday.

Lady Topper sophomore forward Chastity Gooch broke the single season record for double-doubles Saturday in a loss against Middle Tennessee State.

WKU’s post player had led the nation in double-doubles for most of the season and ended the season with 23 total.

She passed former WKU forward and current assistant coach ShaRae Mansfield’s previous record of 22 set during the 1999-2000 season.

The two players and their records are over a decade apart, but they have become close as Mansfield can relate to Gooch on the floor and has helped her develop as a post player.

Both are undersized for their position. Both are hard working. Both are competitive, determined players who, above all, know how to win, Mansfield said.

“She’s the type of player who hates to lose,” Mansfield said. “She cries after games like I did.”

Mansfield is in her first year of coaching at WKU – she was hired to be director of basketball operations but moved to the bench shortly after her arrival.

During her four years playing for the Lady Toppers she led the team to 88 victories and ranks No. 5 on WKU’s all-time scoring list.

Mansfield is excited for Gooch and has been pushing her all season to break the record she set 13 years ago.

“I told her that she better break the record or I would be mad at her,” Mansfield said. “I always say records are made to be broken so I’m happy that she did.”

Gooch is happy she broke the record too, but remained calm when asked about it.

“It’s exciting. Coach Mansfield kept pushing me,” Gooch said. “I just kept playing and it came to me. I broke the record.”

The record breaking 15-point, 10-rebound performance came in a 71-54 loss against the conference’s best team and marked the end of the regular season for the Lady Toppers The team making one of the largest turnarounds in conference history. Last year WKU lost 20 games – this year it won 20.

Gooch’s improvement from last season to this season is an important reason for the turnaround.

In her freshman campaign, Gooch didn’t record a single double-double, averaging 6.1 points and 5.6 rebounds on 35.5 percent shooting from the floor.

She also hit only 2-of-14 from 3-point range and shot 43.5 percent from the free-throw line.

This year, she averages 16 points and 11.3 rebounds per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor, 30 percent from three and 64.9 percent from the charity stripe.

Gooch finished No. 3 in double-doubles in the nation and No. 15 in rebounding.

She has become one of the premier players in the Sun Belt Conference and has garnered attention from coaches around the league and former Lady Toppers.

South Alabama coach Rick Pietri called Gooch a legitimate all-conference player.

“When you look at the growth of (her), with what (she) produced last year versus what (she’s) producing this year, I think you see an incredible amount of growth,” Pietri said.

Former WKU forward and current Bellarmine assistant Crystal Kelly called Gooch ‘mature.’

“When you’re a post player, you have to get the ball first, find a way to score and then take care of your rebounding,” Kelly said. “That’s focus and mentally preparing… you can’t take nights off.”

And Gooch hasn’t taken nights off. There have been just six games this year that Gooch did not record a double-double.

Coach Mansfield said that Gooch will be an all-American before she leaves WKU.

“If she wants to she’ll have the opportunity to play professionally whether it be the WNBA or overseas,” Mansfield said. “She’s going to keep getting better and she has an incredible support system here that will help her and make her a better player.

“The biggest thing is that she has the determination and the talent and whatever she wants to do, she’ll be able to do it.”