Govan powers Lady Toppers to win

Elliott Pratt

The Lady Toppers reached 11 wins on the year behind a big game from sophomore guard Alexis Govan Saturday with an 82-80 win over North Texas in Diddle Arena.

Govan went off on the Mean Green with a career-high 40 points on 20 shots. Her performance was just two points shy of the school record, set by Crystal Kelly in 2008.

Coach Michelle Clark-Heard said Govan didn’t have the greatest practice this week, but showed up for WKU (11-2, 4-0 Sun Belt Conference) when called upon.

“She is always the one I can key on and know she is going to show up every day,” Heard said. “After practice yesterday I challenged her to understand that she is a big part of why we are where we’re at.

“She is our emotional leader and does it all. For her to have a game like this is incredible.”

Govan admitted she didn’t practice well this week and accepted her coach’s call to step up her game against UNT.

“I wasn’t a good leader this week so she challenged me to step it up this week,” Govan said. “I just took what the defense gave me. My teammates got me the ball and I just did what I could.”

The Lady Toppers grabbed their first lead at 20-17 with a lay-up from sophomore forward Chastity Gooch and a foul nearly halfway into the first period.

WKU scored the last five points in the first half to lead 43-36 at halftime.

Govan’s stellar performance resulted in 24 points in the first period.

The Lady Toppers couldn’t carry the same momentum into the second half, missing their first seven shots from the field.

WKU came back with a 7-0 run later in the half capped off by a three-point shot by junior guard Bianca McGee.

The Lady Toppers went on to hit six free throws in the final two minutes to hold off the Mean Green and move to 4-0 in the Sun Belt.

Chastity Gooch earned her 12th double-double of the year with 15 points and 11 rebounds to finish behind Govan’s career high performance. McGee finished with 12 points.

The Lady Toppers will hit the road to Arkansas for two conference games next week, starting with Arkansas-Little Rock Thursday at 5 p.m. and closing at Arkansas State Sunday at 2 p.m.