Women’s Basketball Notes: WKU guard Govan ready to face favorite team

Brad Stephens

Alexis Govan grew up with a rooting interest in Duke basketball, mostly for the purposes of promoting a sibling rivalry.

“My brother’s been a North Carolina fan,” the freshman guard said on Friday. “I just liked Duke because they were the opposite of North Carolina and I didn’t want to be like my brother.”

She’ll have a chance to take on her favorite team when WKU (0-2) hosts No. 8 Duke at 2 p.m. Sunday in Diddle Arena.

If Govan plays as well on Sunday as she has to begin the year, the Lady Toppers may have a pretty good chance at beating the Blue Devils.

The San Antonio native was one of WKU’s few bright spots in a season-opening loss on Nov. 12 to Towson, coming off the bench to score seven points, grab seven rebounds, and dish a team-high five assists.

That performance helped solidify a starting spot for her against Northwestern.

She took advantage of her first college start, scoring 11 points and adding five assists and four steals against the Wildcats.

“We as a staff have been impressed with her to make that switch and put her in the lineup, and I thought she responded extremely well,” Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles said. “Alexis has a unique way of keeping things in perspective.

“I think sometimes for a freshman that may be hard to deal with, stepping into the starting lineup second game in. But she’s got such a great perspective on life and the game and she’s very, very well liked by everyone.”

Govan said that she loved the challenge of facing Duke in just her third college game.

“It’s pretty exciting to actually get to play them,” Govan said. “Coming in here at No. 8, it’s a challenge.”

Cowles expresses sympathy after Oklahoma State tragedy

Women’s basketball suffered a tragedy Thursday night when Oklahoma State Head Coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna, along with two others, were killed in a plane crash.

Budke and Serna were returning from a recruiting trip when their single engine airplane crashed outside of Perryville, Ark.

The cause of the crash has yet to be announced.

Cowles’ first-ever game as Lady Topper head coach came against Budke, when he was coaching at Louisiana Tech.

She called Budke’s and Serna’s deaths “an unfortunate situation.”

“It’s just such a major loss,” Cowles said. “You just sit and wonder why.”

The Oklahoma State men’s team suffered a similar tragedy in January of 2001, when one of three planes carrying staff and players crashed in a snow storm.

Ten people, including two players were killed in that crash.

“For that school and that athletic department to have experienced that 10 years ago through a different avenue on the men’s side, and now to have to experience this, it’s a very, very challenging situation,” Cowles said. “(Budke) was always so considerate, and so nice of a person, very professional and very easy to talk to.

She said the families of the victims, as well as the Oklahoma State team, were in her and her team’s “prayers and thoughts.”