Lady Toppers spread the wealth in exhibition win

WKU freshman Micah Jones attempts to make a shot as two Harding defenders attempt to block her shot. Jones contributed 12 points to the Lady Toppers 96-64 win in Diddle Arena on Friday, Nov. 2.

Elliott Pratt

WKU made the most of its lone exhibition game, notching a decisive 96-64 win over Harding University Friday night in Diddle Arena.

It was the first time the Lady Toppers had scored 96 points or more in a game since January of 2010.

New coach Michelle Clark-Heard was pleased with the team’s first outing of to start the season.

“I thought the girls did an awesome job of showing the things that we have been working on and what we are trying to do,” Heard said. “We really try to emphasize defense. We did a great job in our press defensively, and they were very unselfish with the ball on offense tonight.”

Unselfishness is exactly what the Lady Toppers showed on the night. Six players earned double-digit numbers, but it was Alexis Govan’s game-high 28 points and six steals that led the way for a WKU victory.

Govan said it was a relief to play against someone other than themselves tonight and echoed her coach’s thoughts on defense

“We’re tired of beating up on each other. We don’t have many people to beat up on any more,” Govan said. “Defense is what we pretty much were working on the whole time. We had our slip-ups and moments, but we just have to work that out.”

While Harding scored the game’s first basket with a three from Tabitha Haney, preseason all-Sun Belt Conference players Govan and Chastity Gooch helped lead a Lady Topper 13-0 surge after being tied at seven early in the first half.

Midway through the first half, Govan had more points than the entire Harding team. WKU continued to shine with a 29-4 run before Harding would put together seven consecutive points to pull the WKU lead down to 49-28 just before the half.

WKU’s largest lead came at the 12:25 mark when the team stretched the lead by 34 points. That cushion is what the Lady Toppers felt for much of the second half until the Lady Bison scored a 13-4 run late in the half to cut the deficit only a little before WKU cruised to a 96-64 win.

The Lady Toppers shot 55 percent from the floor and were 13-18 from the free throw line. Following Govan’s game high 28 points, Gooch earned a double-double, putting up 17 points and hauling in 15 rebounds in the win.

Danay Fothergill knocked down three out of four shots from behind the three-point arc to help notch 17 points. Junior Chaney Means put up 16 and Micah Jones scored 14 points and dished seven assists.

Jones has earned the point guard job and said her teammate’s support has helped her take on the new role.

“My teammates have really helped to step up in that position because it needed to be filled,” Jones said. “They’ve helped me when I needed it and I think it’s coming along well.”

Heard credited Jones’ versatility to her early success at point guard.

“Micah has done an unbelievable job of stepping in at the point,” Heard said. “She does a lot of great things and she is able to score too when people leave her open.”

The team will head west next Friday to start regular season play at Murray State. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:15 pm.

Noble misses exhibition

The Lady Toppers were plagued with another player loss as freshman guard Kendall Noble supported her team on crutches during the game after suffering a leg injury late this week.

That left WKU with just eight players dressed in the exhibition.

WKU didn’t announce details of Noble’s injury or a possible time frame for her return.